Several students and youth organisations have called for ‘Bihar Bandh’ on Friday to protest the irregularities in Railway Recruitment Board’s (RRB’s) NTPC stage 1 exam results.
This comes a day after angry agitators in Bihar have set fire to train carriages in protests over access to railway jobs that have seen police violently disperse crowds with tear gas and baton charges.
The students’ bodies who announced Bandh termed the railway ministry’s move to form a committee to look into the concerns of the students as a “hoax”.
Meanwhile, The railway ministry announced the suspension of Non-Technical Popular Categories (NTPC) and the Level 1 exams after job aspirants in Bihar and Jharkhand staged huge protests.
Protests began on a small scale on Monday but have since spread, with agitators pelting stones at train cars, blocking tracks, and burning effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Four bogies of a train were set on fire by the protesters in Bihar’s Gaya. Protests were also held in Patna, Bhagalpur, and Sasaram.
The protests also spilled over to border areas in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
More than a dozen people have been arrested for participating in the demonstrations.
Police have been criticised for a heavy-handed crackdown, with many viral videos showing cops barging into the homes of suspected demonstrators and flogging them. In UP, six policemen were suspended a day after the crackdown.
The railway ministry set up the high-power committee to address the issues raised by job applicants. Railways minister Ashwini Vaishnav told reporters the panel will submit its report before 4 March.
However, the All India Students’ Union (AISA) and other youth organisations said in a joint press statement that the committee formed by the Union government is a “conspiracy” to postpone the matter till the elections in Uttar Pradesh.
The students’ bodies who called the protest “a massive movement of student youth, who are facing extreme unemployment”, refused to bog down despite the assurance from the government.
“There has been a huge uproar in UP and Bihar during the first UPTET and now the RRB-NTPC results of the Railways. This is proof of the failures of the governments. Beating up poor youths and unemployed youths for protesting, playing with their future is totally unjustified.” “Due to the wrong policies of the government, poverty and unemployment have reached the peak. Government jobs and the facility of reservation in them have become secondary. In such a situation, it is unjust to not have the examination, even for a few government jobs for years. BJP has to change its narrow vision of selling ‘pakoras’ to the youth,” BSP supremo and former UP chief minister Mayawati tweeted.
“The youth have the right to talk about unemployment,” senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi said in a Twitter post condemning the attack.