Guwahati/Jorhat, Mar 4: About 600 answer scripts of the Class X matriculation exam conducted by the Secondary Education Board of Assam (SEBA) were destroyed in a fire at a school in Jorhat town, prompting the government to order a CID probe into the matter.
The incident has evoked statewide protests by student organisations, matric examinees and their parents and the public at large even as SEBA said the affected students may be required to write the test again in only one subject within this month.
Results of the Board exams would be declared as per schedule for awarding of the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC), it added.
As irate crowds gheraoed the SEBA office in Guwahati and took out processions and burnt effigies in protest, a senior Jorhat district official said the fire which was discovered this morning was the handiwork of miscreants. The incident occurred in a school in the upper Assam town of Jorhat, SEBA said.
Sankardev Seminary School had received 459 packets of answer scripts for safe-keeping and 98 of those were destroyed in the fire, it said. Officials are trying to ascertain from which examination centres these answer scripts were collected.
The affected answer scripts are of the subjects of English, General Mathematics, Assamese MIL, elective papers of Sanskrit, Additional Maths, Geography and Computer Science.
SEBA said that its Examination Committee today decided that the affected examinees may need to take the test again in only one subject within this month.
For those not willing to sit for a retest, the average of the marks obtained in the five other major subjects will be taken as the score in the affected script, it said.
Meanwhile, describing the incident as an act of sabotage, Jorhat district Deputy Commissioner Solanki Vishal Vasant said the fire was started by miscreants via a sky window near the table on which the scripts were kept.
He said the room in which the answer scripts were kept was a "safe one" and ruled out suggestions that a short circuit having caused the fire. A CID inquiry has been ordered into the incident, Vasant said.
Members of the influential All Assam Students Union (AASU) led a gherao of the SEBA head office demanding that it immediately take a call on whether retests would be held for the affected students.
The protesters slammed the officials concerned for their "slackness" and demanded action against anybody found responsible for lapses in the case.