Indian Railways suspends recruitment exam as protests by candidates turn violent; Centre urges calm
Thousands of protesters have blocked railway tracks, disrupted train services and vandalised public property. In Bihar's Gaya, a train was set ablaze, though no injuries have been reported
The Indian Railways has suspended its Non Technical Popular Categories (NTPC) and Level 1 tests after protests over its recruitment exam turned violent.
Thousands of candidates alleging discrepancies in the process have been protesting in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Why are candidates protesting?
Protests erupted over the Indian Railways' decision to hold the exam in two stages. Candidates claimed that the second stage is unfair to those who have cleared the first one. The results for the first stage were declared on 15 January. The Indian Railways said that another layer of exams was added to accommodate a large number of applicants.
Earlier, railways said it would hold the second stage of the exam from 15 to 19 February, 2022. Around 1.25 candidates had applied for the exams and nearly 60 lakh people sat for the test.
A crowd stormed the Gaya Junction, raising slogans, and set fire to the Bhabhua-Patna Inter City Express. No injuries have been reported so far.
Gaya, Bihar | Aspirants vandalized train over alleged irregularities in Railway exam
CBT 2 exam date was not notified; no update on Railway exam which was notified in 2019...Result is still awaited...We demand cancellation of CBT 2 exam & release of exam result: Protester pic.twitter.com/9eyW8JphYa
— ANI (@ANI) January 26, 2022
East Central Railway CPRO Rajesh Kumar told PTI-Bhasha, "The rakes were empty and parked inside the yard when miscreants set a coach on fire. It has not resulted in disruption of rail traffic." Gaya SSP Aditya Kumar said some of the agitators were taken into custody. Clashes have also been reported between the police and the protesters.
#WATCH | Bihar: Several injured in clashes during students' protest against RRB-NTPC results at Sitamarhi railway station, as police open fire in the air pic.twitter.com/ORnmcaoClr — ANI (@ANI) January 25, 2022
On Tuesday, train services were disrupted in Bihar as protesters blocked railway tracks for five hours at the Rajendra Nagar Terminal in Patna.
UP Police accused of manhandling protesters, govt promises action
The police have been accused of barging into a lodge and manhandling students who took part in the protests in Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. Among those who shared the alleged assault's video was Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
प्रयागराज में पुलिस द्वारा छात्रों के लॉज में और हॉस्टलों में जाकर तोड़-फोड़ करना एवं उनको पीटना बेहद निंदनीय है। प्रशासन इस दमनकारी कार्रवाई पर तुरंत रोक लगाए। युवाओं को रोजगार की बात कहने का पूरा हक है और मैं इस लड़ाई में पूरी तरह से उनके साथ हूं। pic.twitter.com/jjOxy2iZH2 — Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) January 25, 2022
The state's deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya has promised action as the video went viral on social media. He said that action will be taken against the police personnel if they are found guilty.
प्रयागराज में छात्रों के साथ घटना दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण है,दोषी पुलिस कर्मियों पर कार्रवाई होगी,छात्रों से संयम की अपील है,विपक्ष छात्रों के मामले में राजनीति न करे,जिन लोगों ने छात्रों की आड़ लेकर उपद्रव किया है जाँच कर उनके ख़िलाफ़ कार्रवाई की जाएगी,प्रत्येक छात्र हमारा परिवार है,
— Keshav Prasad Maurya (@kpmaurya1) January 26, 2022
Railways minister urges calm
Meanwhile, railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Wednesday urged job aspirants not to destroy public property and assured them that their grievances would be resolved.
The railways also formed a high-level committee to examine the grievances of those who have passed the exams under different railway recruitment boards (RRBs) and those who have failed the same, a spokesperson for the national transporter said on Wednesday.
After listening to both the parties, the committee will submit a report to the railways ministry, he added.
The Indian Railways had earlier warned that candidates who are indulging in vandalism and unlawful activities and disruption of train operations, will be barred from recruitment tests for life.
With inputs from agencies
As per the schedule, the RRB NTPC CBT 2 phase 1 exam will be conducted on 9 and 10 May this year
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