Following repeated leaks of question papers of higher secondary certificate examinations, noted author Prof Muhammad Zafar Iqbal today demanded that the education ministry and board must admit the incidents.
If the higher authorities of the education board or ministry are not linked to question paper leaks, how could it happen repeatedly, Prof Iqbal questioned.
"Even it is a matter of regret that the ministry is yet to admit the reality," he came down heavily while expressing solidarity with a sit-in at the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital on Friday morning protesting the recent rise of question paper leak during public examinations.
Defying the rains in the morning, a group of Buet and Dhaka University students began the demonstration demanding exemplary punishment of the people involved with the question paper leak.
Terming question paper leak as a "great disaster" for the nation, Prof Zafar Iqbal said this trend had been lowering the students' self-esteem.
Eminent citizens, teachers and guardians joined the programme demanding answers from the authorities concerned for the question paper leak and exemplary punishment of the perpetrators.
Prof Iqbal's wife Prof Yasmin Haque, cartoonist Ahsan Habib, writer Anisul Haq and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) professor Md Kaykobad, Liberation War Museum trustees Ziauddin Tariq Ali, among others, joined the programme.
The placards they carry read as: "HSC Proshnopatro Fash Keno/ Sanghslishta kartipakkha jobab chai, jobab daw (Why question papers leak?/Answer authorities concerned)", "Nichhak pasher jonno proshonno fash cholbe na (Question papers can't be leaked only for high pass rate)", and "Jorito bayktider obilombe drishtanto mulok shashti ditey hobe (Involved people must be brought to book)" etc.
One of the participants of the sit-in Naziur Rahman, a third-year student of Buet, said they would campaign in different schools and colleges in the country against the question leak till next Thursday.
"If the ministry does not admit the question leak, we will hold another sit-in here," he told the rally.
The protesters earlier on May 24 organised a Facebook event to protest the ministry's move to hold examination even after the allegation of Mathematics Paper-I question paper was leaked in the social media the night before.
In the wake of leakage of question papers of public examinations, the government was dismissing it as "rumour", the protesters alleged.
Since the exam began on April 3, there have been repeated allegations that question papers of some subjects, including English second paper, two papers of both physics and chemistry, got leaked.
The board had to postpone the English second paper exam following such allegations.
The education ministry and the Dhaka Board authorities then formed two committees to inquire into the leak.
The committees were given 15 days to submit the reports, but they sought more time.
Some 11,41,374 examinees are taking the exams from 8,104 educational institutions across the country.