New Delhi: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan skipped Delhi University’s Yoga Day event on Friday, where some students protested against alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG and UGC-NET exams. Pradhan, who was scheduled to be the chief guest for the International Yoga Day event starting at 6 am, could not attend due to “some urgent work,” according to Delhi University (DU) officials. Members of the Left-wing outfit All India Students’ Association (AISA) and other university students held a demonstration at the institution’s North Campus, carrying black flags. The AISA unit of Delhi University claimed that the minister avoided the event due to the protest, as reported by news agency PTI.

“In response to the sheer audacity of Pradhan to even think of coming to DU while he and his NTA have jeopardised the future of students, AISA activists along with students of Delhi University raised black flags and protested against his presence in the university,” the association said in a statement.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts the NEET-UG medical entrance exam and the UGC-NET test to determine eligibility for assistant professors and junior research fellowships in universities and colleges.

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During the protest, AISA stated that “students were informed that due to fear of the protest, the Minister of Education did not even show up for the event” and added, “the corrupt and arrogant Education Minister is not welcome in our university.”

The student body also demanded Pradhan’s resignation and the dissolution of the NTA.

In a press conference late Thursday, Pradhan accepted “moral responsibility” for the “institutional failure” of the NTA in conducting the exams and announced that the government would set up a high-level committee to review its functioning and recommend reforms.

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