PATNA: Authorities in Bihar have ordered an investigation after around 7,000 answer scripts of Grade 10 students set on fire by unidentified miscreants apparently in a bid to destroy evidence of possible large-scale irregularities in the examination.
The burnout scripts were stored in the strong room of a Girls plus two school local in East Champaran district of Bihar.
Reports said the local villagers noticed smokes billowing out of the school building on Saturday and informed the school authorities who rushed to the spot and broke open the school room.
Upon entering the room, the authorities found some 7,000 answers sheets of Grade 10 examination held last year reduced to ashes.
However, thanks to helps from the local villagers the authorities were able to save the remaining around 200,000 answer scripts of the students stored in the school room.
All the burnt answer sheets were related to social science and Hindi and belonged to students from Samastipur district, authorities informed.
A preliminary inspection of the site has made it clear that someone tried to set these evaluated answer scripts on fire by opening the window panes under a conspiracy and may be known to school affairs, an education department official said.
“I visited the school after getting the information and a detailed report is being sent to the education department authorities,” the local district education official Mohammad Iftekhar Ahmad told the media on Sunday.
This is the third incident of destruction of evaluated answer sheets in the past one fortnight. Last week, 5,682 practical copies of Grade 10 and Grade 12 students were found missing from Rajendra Prasad High School-cum-Inter College located in Hathua block of Gopalganj district.
Prior to that, around 43,000 evaluated answer sheets of Grade 10 students had gone missing from another school in the same Gopalganj district, prompting the authorities to postpone release of examination result for a week.
During the course of investigation, the authorities later found that all those 43,000 answer sheets had been sold to a scrap dealer for Rs8,500 and jailed the school principal, peon and other persons involved in the shady deal. They, however, are still to recover all these missing answer sheets although a few of them have been found.
So far, the investigating police have conducted raids at some 32 scrap shops in various locations of Bihar but failed to recover these answer sheets.
Based on some clues, the authorities are now searching for these answer scripts at scrap shops in northern Indian states, such as Uttarakhand and Punjab.
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