Patna: More than a dozen youths and students belonging to a Left party were seriously injured in police lathicharge during their protest demanding “rojgar and shiksha” (livelihood and education) in Patna on Monday. The protest march by the youth and student organisation of CPI (ML) was on its way to gherao the Bihar Assembly on the issues of education and employment.
Hundreds of youths and students took to the streets after they gathered near Gandhi Maidan at the heart of Patna and started their peaceful protest march to ‘gherao’ the Assembly .But protesting youth and students were forcibly stopped near J P Golambar, which angered the protestors, who then objected and shouted slogans against police action.Soon, the protesters and the police were involved in a heated exchange of words followed by a clash between them.
Police fired more than half a dozen teargas shells and used water cannons to stop the protestors. Despite the continuous teargas shells and water cannons, the protestors refused to retreat and tried to go ahead when the police lathicharged protesters to disperse them. But in the lathicharge, several youths and students sustained injuries in their heads, legs, hands, shoulders and other parts of the body. All the injured protesters were rushed to the government-run Patna Medical College and Hospital for treatment.
According to Kumar Perwej, a leader of Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) in Patna, the party’s three MLAs including Sandeep Saurav, Manoj Manzil and Ajit Kushwaha were also roughed up by the police during lathicharge.The party MLAs were participating in the protest march as well.
Ajit Kushwaha alleged that three of them were deliberately attacked by the police on the basis of instruction from the top. “We were not doing anything unconstitutional and joined the youth and students demanding jobs,” he said.
MLA Sandeep Saurabh, who is also the national General Secretary of the party’s student body All India Students’ Association (AISA),said that the jobs promised by the NDA government in Bihar have already proved to be a big lie as the government has forgotten that promise and instead, was repeatedly claiming that it will give 19 lakh loans.
The youth and student bodies of the CPI (ML) last month announced their plan to gherao the state Assembly to remind the NDA government led by Nitish Kumar of its promise of 19 lakh jobs that the ruling alliance made during the election campaign in October- November.
In a bid to create awareness and mobilise support for their demands, the party took out a campaign in early February called the ‘shiksha-rojgar yatra’ across the state till the end of the month. During the campaign, their focus was that they will not allow the ruling NDA to divert the issue through “pseudo-nationalism and communal poison.”
CPI (ML) leader Dhirendra Jha said joblessness and employment are two major issues for the youth in Bihar. The young population wants 19 lakh permanent jobs as promised by the BJP during the assembly polls last year and they don’t want to be cheated by the rhetoric of self-employment, he said.
Earlier on Monday, 12 CPI (ML) lawmakers staged a protest outside the main building of the state assembly to put pressure on the issue of the NDA’s job promise.
More than three and a half months after the NDA government came to power, joblessness remains a big issue among the youth and no special announcement for recruitment to existing vacancies has been made so far. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, an ally of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), had promised to provide 19 lakh jobs in the next five years during the election campaign of the state Assembly polls but to no effect.