Claiming that the questions were too hard, some candidates of the written test of Bangladesh Bar Council enrollment exam yesterday went berserk in different exam centres, preventing others from taking the test and burning their answer scripts.
They also hurled abuse at some fellow examinees, and drove away a number of invigilators to stop the exam.
Enrolment in Bangladesh Bar Council after passing tests allows one to practice law in courts.
Many of the examinees demanded "auto pass", like it was done for school and college tests, for the four-hour written exam citing the pandemic. They had been demanding the authorities hold viva voce exam only.
"Our exam started at 9:00am. About one hour later, we heard a hue and cry and saw some examinees protesting. They went from one exam hall to another and drove us out," said a candidate at Mohammadpur Kendriya College.
The protestors took away answer scripts and set those on fire, he added.
Another examinee Shihab Kausar said, "I was in an exam hall on the fourth floor of the college building… the invigilators said they would not take the exam amid such a situation and asked us to submit our answer scripts around 10:30am, even though the test was supposed to end at 1:00pm."
"We went to the centre but could not sit for the exam. We demand the authorities hold a re-examination," he said.
The test was held at nine examination centres in the capital, but a section of examinees also reportedly boycotted the exam and prevented others from sitting the exam at Mohammadpur Mohila College, Government Mohammadpur Model School and College also, police and examinees alleged.
Sub-Inspector Newton Mridha, a duty officer of Mohammadpur Police Station, said some students staged protests at the centres, entered exam halls, and prevented others from taking the exam.
Police rushed to the two exam centres and brought the situation under control, the SI told The Daily Star.
At Dhaka Mohanagar Mohila College, some students boycotted the exam and tried to force others to do the same.
"We brought the situation under control and the exam was held there," said Mamunur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Sutrapur Police Station.
Contacted, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin, also the chairman of Bangladesh Bar Council, said they would take necessary steps after receiving reports from the exam centres.
"We are yet to receive the detailed report on the situation of the exam centres. I hope we will have the report soon and make necessary decisions in this regard," he told The Daily Star.
Around 13,000 candidates were scheduled to participate in the written test at the exam centres set up at nine educational institutions from 9:00am to 1:00pm yesterday.
The enrolment committee of the Bar Council on November 25 had fixed December 19 for the written test.
The written test for advocateship was scheduled to be held on September 26. But the schedule was deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A section of candidates had been staging protests demanding the authorities enroll them in Bangladesh Bar Council as lawyers through holding viva voce test only.
They had organised a sit-in near the residence of Law Minister Anisul Huq in the capital's Banani on November 17 to press home their demand.
On the same day, another group of candidates held demonstrations and formed a human chain at the capital's Shahbagh intersection.
They had observed token hunger strike in front of Jatiya Press Club for several days demanding the authorities give them auto pass in the written exam as Bangladesh Bar Council failed to hold the test on time.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court Bar Association Secretary Md Ruhul Quddus Kazal in a statement yesterday condemned and protested the "anarchy" at the exam halls.