Over Two Dozen Witnesses and Suspects Mysteriously Die in Indian Cheating Scandal

In this Wednesday, March 18, 2015 photo, Indians climb the wall of a building to help students appearing in an examination in Hajipur, in the eastern Indian state of Bihar. Even with police presence, parents and relatives are reported to scale building walls in order to pass notes to help students cheat in their exams. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India)

Originally published on July 8, 2015, at NationofChange.org

At least two dozen suspects, whistleblowers, and witnesses linked to a $1 billion cheating scandal continue to die under mysterious circumstances. Although many high-level government officials in central India have been accused of accepting bribes, law enforcement officials have primarily been targeting students and lower officials involved in the test-rigging scam. In response to the numerous deaths and the recent demise of an Indian reporter investigating the Vyapam scandal, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has instructed the Indian government to thoroughly investigate these suspicious deaths.

Since 2007, tens of thousands of students and job applicants in the central state of Madhya Pradesh have paid large bribes to manipulate their test results for entrance into medical schools and government positions. Students reportedly paid bribes between $15,000 and $40,000 for admission to medical schools because they could not pass the exams. While investigating complaints of imposters taking entrance exams for various medical schools, police in the city of Indore discovered multiple tests being rigged including recruitment exams for food inspectors, forest rangers, medical officers, police officers, and teachers.

After whistleblowers tipped them off, Indore Police raided a test center and arrested eight imposters taking a medical school entrance exam in July 2013. High-scoring students equipped with fake IDs were paid to impersonate applicants with lower scores. Many test proctors were bribed to allow applicants to sit next to the imposters so they could easily cheat off them. Other applicants left their answer sheets blank so bribed scorers could fill out their exams later with the correct answers.

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Third Blogger Hacked to Death within 3 Months

Originally published on May 13, 2015, at NationofChange.org

Masked men with machetes ambushed a secular blogger on Tuesday morning and hacked him to death on his way to work in Bangladesh. Although the victim’s name was reportedly on a list of targets compiled by Islamic extremists for assassination, police have not arrested anyone for his murder. Ananta Bijoy Das has become the third blogger within the last three months butchered in public for supporting science and reason over religious fundamentalism.

According to police, Das was headed to work at a bank in the city of Sylhet when four masked assailants attacked him on the street with machetes. Sylhet Metropolitan Police Commissioner Kamrul Ahsan told reporters, “They chased him down the street and first attacked his head with their machetes and then attacked him all over his body.”

After the attackers fled into the early morning crowds, Das was transported to a hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. Although Das worked for a bank, he also contributed to the blog Mukto Mona(Free Mind) and was the editor of a scientific magazine named Jukti (Reason). While mainly writing about science and evolution, Das had also been critical of religious fundamentalism and recent violence against secular thinkers.

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