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'NASA boy's' villagers stage protest

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
February 24, 2005 15:45 IST
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All claims made by 17-year-old Saurabh Singh of Uttar Pradesh about topping a NASA examination have been proved to be wrong.

NASA officials have told that it doesn't conduct any examination.

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Yet residents of Narhai -- the boy's native village, about 55 km from Ballia town -- staged a demonstration in his support on Thursday.

According to reports, the residents blocked the Sikandarpur-Nagra road, on which the village is located, and raised anti-administration slogans.

"We hold the local administration responsible for the hoax," Saurabh's cousin Narendra Kumar Singh told over telephone.

"Now everyone is trying to pass the blame on Saurabh, who has himself been taken for a ride," he said.

"I am fully aware that Saurabh not only went all the way to London to take the examination, but his fare was paid by the central government," Singh said, adding that the boy had documentary proof.

"Now tell me, how would you react if you were to receive a congratulatory letter from the President on being conferred a certain honour?"

Saurabh had got a congratulatory letter from President A P J Abdul Kalam for 'topping the exam'.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow