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‘Couldn’t Celebrate Eid’: Students Aghast Over UGC NET ‘Clash’ with Eid ul Adha

For Md Tajamul, an aspiring UGC NET candidate from Jammu and Kashmir, Eid ul Adha was not just a day of celebration but also a day filled with challenges. “Eid was on 17 June and I had to leave on Eid, my centre was 100 km away from home, It was difficult,” he said.

The UGC NET exams, crucial for his career in academics, were scheduled on June 17, just a day after Eid ul Adha, a gazetted holiday in the erstwhile state. This ‘clash’ posed a dilemma for Muslim students who found themselves torn between their religious obligations and academic responsibilities.

“Half of the students were absent at the centre due to the festivities. People couldn’t celebrate Eid. Most of my friends missed the exam,” Md Tajamul said. His concerns echoed a wider sentiment among aspirants in the region, who felt that their requests for rescheduling the exams had been overlooked.

Agha Ruhullah, a Member of Parliament from Srinagar, voiced concerns over the clash between exam dates and Eid, saying that no student should be forced to choose between their faith and their career.

“Despite repeated requests from the students to reschedule these exams/tests, the NTA is unmoved. I hope it is not deliberately done to make Muslim students choose between faith and career. Students of any faith and religion should not be forced into choosing between their religious duties and career. These exams can well be rescheduled for anytime after Eid. I hope the NTA understands this simple fact and reschedules the tests,” Ruhullah said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Students Association also urged authorities to reconsider the exam dates, saying that the aspirants “will face numerous issues, including the unavailability of transport facilities, making it nearly impossible for many to reach their exam centres. This logistical challenge compounds the emotional and cultural strain of having to choose between their religious obligations and their academic responsibilities.”

“Considering the contiguous nature of the exam and festival dates, it becomes an impossible task for the candidates to appear for the said exam. Thus, we request the rescheduling of UGC NET examination dates to ensure that students can observe their festival with due respect and peace of mind,” the organization said in a statement.

The clash of exam dates with Eid ul Adha not only affected the attendance of students but also raised broader questions about inclusivity and accommodation of religious diversity in academic schedules. As one aspirant put it, “The NET exam is on the 18th of June. Eid is on the 17th here. It seems they purposely schedule exams on days like these so people can neither enjoy nor participate fully. NET is a national exam, and many Muslim aspirants appear for it. It’s unthinkable for something like this to happen on Holi or Diwali.”

The plea for rescheduling resonates with students like Md Tajamul, who believe that a small adjustment in exam dates could have made a difference. “They should’ve thought about us,” he said. “They could’ve set the exams on 19th June instead of 18th, we could’ve also celebrated Eid.”

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