Several hundred Secondary School Certificate exam candidates and their guardians gathered at Ghumdhum High School ground in Naikhyangchhari upazila in Bandarban on Saturday morning. They gathered there to go to Kutupalong High School centre in Ukhiya upazila in Cox’s Bazar, some 17 kms away from their original centre of SSC exams.
The local administration on Friday shifted the exam centre for 499 SSC candidates as some mortar shells of the armed forces of neighbouring Myanmar have been fired indiscriminately in a hilly area in Rakhine State and crossed over into Bangladesh. The Rakhine State is just on the other side of Tumbru border in Ghumdhum of Bangladesh.
A Rohingya youth, Iqbal, was killed and five others injured in shelling along the no man’s land of the Bangladesh-Myanmar border on Friday night. The incident sent a shiver through the local people. Following this the local administration shifted the SSC exam centre.
Cox’s Bazar district police, district unit Chhatra League and local union parishad organised several buses and other vehicles to reach the SSC candidates of Ghumdhum centre to Ukhiya centre.
Policemen stationed at Ukhiya police station escorted the students to the exam centre. It took 35-45 minutes to reach from Ghumdhum to Kutupalong, police said.
The law enforcement kept the 17km section from Marichya to Kutupalong of Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf road free of traffic so that the students could reach their exam centre on time. The exam, Bangla-II, started at 11:00am.
Police said they will escort the students to Ghumdhum when the exam will be completed.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Ukhiya police station officer-in-charge Sheikh Mohammad Ali said, “Police escorted the students in two buses from Ghumdhum centre to Kutupalong centre in Ukhiya. Some of the candidates went to Kutupalong by auto-rickshaw, easy-bike, motorcycle and other vehicles.”
Cox’s Bazar district unit Chhatra League general secretary Maruf Adnan said the situation has become volatile due to Myanmar’s shelling along the Ghumdhum border. Movement of people has been restricted. The BCL organised several buses to facilitate the communication of SSC candidates easily and safely. The students have been getting this service free of cost, he added.
Kutupalong falls within Rajapalong union parishad. Member of that union parishad Heal Uddin was in charge of managing the students of Kutupalong High Schools. He told Prothom Alo, “Alongside the local people, candidates from Ghumdhum union parishad in Naikhyangchhari started arriving at the (Kutupalong) centre at around 9:30am. There is enough space for the candidates to sit at the four-storey Kutupalong school building. The security is also beefed up here.”
Ukhiya Upazila Nirbahi Officer Imran Hossain said sitting arrangements and other preparations for candidates of Ghumdhum centre were completed at Kutupalong High School centre by at around 1:30am Saturday.
He also said the SSC exam centre has been shifted due to the border situation. Parents and students were informed through their mobile phones. The matter was also announced on loud speakers in the area, he added.
Ghumdhum High School centre’s hall super and the head teacher of the school Khairul Basar said following the directions of the administration they have come to Kutupalong High School centre on Friday night. All the preparations have been taken at night. The number of candidates of Ghumdhum centre is 499, he added.