Over 1.8 lakh students did not appear for the Uttar Pradesh board examinations on the first day, PTI reported on Wednesday. The examinations for Class 10 and 12 began on Tuesday.

“On the first day of examinations on Tuesday, 1,80,826 students did not appear,” said Uttar Pradesh Deputy Director for Education Vikas Srivastava. “It included over 53,100 high school and over 1.27 lakh intermediate students.”

An unidentified Education Department official told PTI that the absentees were the result of measures, including installation of CCTV cameras in exam halls and using local intelligence agencies to check the activities of the education mafia, initiated by the Adityanath government.

Over 67 lakh students enrolled for the state board exams this year. Of these, over 37 lakh enrolled for the Class 10 examinations and 29.8 lakh for the Class 12 exams.

In Hardoi, 11,141 students did not attend the examinations on Tuesday. In Azamgarh, 8,842 students were absent from the exams, 6,330 in Jaunpur and 6,299 in Gonda. Centres in Firozabad, Mainpuri, Hathras, Moradabad, Gorakhpur and Sant Kabir Nagar also saw a high numbers of absentees.

Meanwhile, a Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh Police busted a copying racket and arrested three individuals, including the headmaster of a school in Naini city on Tuesday, the Hindustan Times reported.

Additional Superintendent of Police (Special Task Force) Praveen Singh Chauhan said Anil Kumar, a teacher at Bal Bharti School in Naini, was found dictating answers to students in a classroom despite the presence of CCTV cameras.

When the Special Task Force investigated the matter, it found that school principal Shiv Prasad and another teacher, Shiv Shankar Mishra, took bribes of Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 each from the students to help them cheat. All three were arrested, Chauhan said.

Uttar Pradesh Board Secretary Nina Srivastava said that across the state, 16 students were caught cheating on the first day of the examination.