Angry mob burns trains in India over rigged railway exam
Angry mob burns trains in India over rigged railway exam

The police in eastern India were forced to to dispersing the crowds with tear gas and baton charges, after the rioters set the empty train coaches on fire and blocked railway traffic in protests over the allegations that an entrance exam for the government-run rail sector was being conducted unfairly.

India’s Bihar state has been on edge since the beginning of the week, when the news of alleged flaws in railway recruitment emerged.

Young job applicants alleged massive irregularities in recruitment by the massive railways department, one of the world’s largest employers with more than 1.2 million people working for it.

Protests began on a small scale on Monday but have since spread, with crowds pelting stones at train cars, blocking tracks and burning effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Protesters say the test results for different job categories showed that the names of the same people appeared multiple times, which unsuccessful candidates felt wrongly excluded them.

Millions of people had applied for some 150,000 jobs in Bihar and neighboring Uttar Pradesh state, they said.

“The recruitment process has not been transparent,” said one of the protesters in Bihar. “A number of the selected candidates had their names in various categories, which is very unfair.”

The Ministry of Railways said a committee had been formed to look into the concerns of the candidates. It earlier said those found involved in the vandalism and destruction of public property could be barred from appearing for railways jobs apart from other legal action.

More than a dozen people have been arrested for participating in the demonstrations, which have broken out at railway stations across Bihar and neighboring Uttar Pradesh.

Police have also been criticized for a heavy-handed crackdown, with social media footage showing officers barging into the homes of suspected demonstrators and flogging them.

Joblessness has long been a millstone around the Indian economy’s neck, with unemployment figures at their worst since the 1970s even before the COVID-19 pandemic wrought havoc on local commerce.

India’s unemployment is estimated to have exceeded the global rate in five of the last six years.

 

 

 

 

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