Aspirants protest in Jammu, Srinagar against JKSSB

Major political parties condemn use of force against protesters

SRINAGAR | Updated: 08 March, 2023 8:13 pm IST
Major political parties criticise use of force against JKSSB aspirants

Several job aspirants today took out protests in Jammu and Srinagar against the hiring of a previously blacklisted company, APTECH Limited, by the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) for conducting written examinations. APTECH Limited was blacklisted in 2019.

In Jammu city, the protesters assembled outside Dogra Chowk and tried to take out a march in violation of prohibitory orders. Police had to resort to a mild lathicharge before detaining several of them.

The protesters were raising slogans against the JKSSB for hiring a previously blacklisted company for the conduct of computer-based tests.

Chanting slogans like “APTECH go back” and “we want justice”, the protesters said they are concerned about their future as they are crossing the age limit due to the alleged failure of the administration to complete the recruitment process on time.

“They are conducting an examination and then cancelling it. How many times do we have to appear for the same exam time and again,” a protester said.

In July last year, the Jammu and Kashmir administration cancelled the selected list of 1200 police sub-inspectors, 1300 junior engineers and 1000 finance account assistants (FAA) following allegations of paper leaks and malpractices.

In Srinagar, the job aspirants gathered at Press Enclave to protest against JKSSB. The protesters demanded that the LG administration investigate why paper leaks and scam issues only occur in Kashmir.

“All blacklisted companies should be banned in Jammu and Kashmir. Until action is taken against these blacklisted companies, no student will sit for any competitive exams,” the protestors stated.

They also demanded that the LG administration take necessary measures for the benefit of job-aspiring youth in J&K.

Meanwhile, all major political parties condemned the administration for the use of force against the protestors in Jammu.

Omar Abdullah, former chief minister and vice president of the JKNC, took to Twitter to criticise the administration.

“I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the use of force and lathi charges against students and JKSSB aspirants. These youngsters were exercising their democratic right to protest against the recent decision to engage a blacklisted firm,” Abdullah, the National Conference vice president, tweeted.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, while speaking to the media at Shopian, also condemned the lathi charge against the job aspirants in Jammu.

“Many unemployed youths are on strike both in Srinagar and Jammu. They were lathi-charged and I condemn that in the strongest possible terms. Is this their fault that they wanted to ask the BJP government why their future is being played with?” she said.

“On what basis and at whose behest has the company, which is blacklisted by other states, been awarded the contract to conduct the recruitment here?” she asked.

“Laws were changed to make sure it gets the contract. So, the youth were asking this question only, but they were lathi-charged and detained. I demand that the LG take action against those officials who are involved in this,” Mehbooba said.

Jammu Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC) chairman Sajad Lone also condemned the police action.

“Strongly condemn the use of force against students protesting APTECH. Using force against students shows how alienated the administration is. Who would order the use of force against young students? Have some shame. U (you) would probably have children at home, of the same age group,” Lone wrote on Twitter.

Democratic Azad Party (DAP) leader and former J&K chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad tweeted, “It is disheartening to hear about the use of violence against #JKSSB aspirants in J and K who were peacefully protesting for their future. I strongly condemn such actions and urge the government to intervene to protect the rights of students without fear of harm!”

Various student bodies also condemned the police action and demanded that the LG administration take into account the reservations of job aspirants regarding the hiring of APTECH Limited by JKSSB.

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