Patna: Ignoring the biting cold, thousands of jobless youths continued to protest on Tuesday in Bihar against alleged irregularities in the results of the Railway Recruitment Board's (RRB's) Non-Technical Popular Categories examination and decision to hold another exam for it.
A day after massive protests in Patna and Bhojpur districts, jobless youths began protests in Nalanda on Tuesday morning.
Protesting youths also took to the streets in Nawada district and staged protests by blocking it.
The protests, most of them railway job aspirant, is likely to spread across the state in view of growing anger among youths and students over the failure of the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre as well in the state to provide them employment.
As per reports reaching here, hundreds of jobless youths protesting at Biharsharif railway station (Nalanda) blocked railway tracks that disrupted train movement. They were shouting slogans against RRB and the Narendra Modi government. Nalanda is home district of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Protesters halted the Rajgir-New Delhi Shramjeevi Express and two other trains and refused to end the protest, which will badly hit train services,”a Railway official said.
The district administration official Mukul Pankaj, however, said the police have been urging the youth to end the protest soon.
Protests by a small group of jobless youths started on Monday afternoon at Rajendra Nagar Terminal in Patna and Ara railway station in Bhojpur. Soon, a large number of jobless youths joined them at both places. The Rajendra Nagar Terminal was virtually under siege by angry protesters that totally disrupted trains movement.
protest by jobless youths at Ara railway station
“Initially the protest started by a few dozen youth but later more than 2,000 jobless youths and students joined it in Patna that lasted for more than nine hours”, Vikas Yadav, who was in the forefront of the protest, here said.
The protest was triggered by a fresh notification issued by RRB to hold another exam for the job after the recent ‘inaacurate’ results. Upset over this, the job aspirants who had appeared for RRB's Non-Technical Popular Categories exam 202, accused RRB of cheating by holding two exams.
“We will oppose and protest the RRB decision to hold two exams for the same job”, said Rahul Singh, one of the protesters.
Singh said when they applied for the job, only one examination was mentioned in the RRB notification issued in 2019.
“How has it changed now? The second exam will not only delay the final result, it will end the hope of hundreds of job aspirants. Now money will play a major role in selection”, he added.
However, the RRB reportedly claimed that it had clearly mentioned about the second exam in the notification.
The protest in Patna ended at 10 p.m on Monday night after the police lathicharged the protesters and fired tear gas shells to disperse them. Angry over the police action against their peaceful protest, the youths allegedly pelted stones at the police, which resulted in a clash in which nearly a dozen protesting youth were injured.
The Railway police have filed a case against 500 unidentified protestors in connection with the incident and arrested four protestors.
The Patna district administration officials, however, alleged that the protest was “engineered” by those running coaching institutes for competitive exams in Patna.
East Central Railway’s (ECR) chief public relations officer Rajesh Kumar said five trains including Delhi-bound Tejas Rajdhani, Sampoorna Kranti Express and Mumbai-bound Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Express, were cancelled due to blocking of tracks by protestors for hours. Besides, several trains were halted and a few diverted.
Similarly, more than a thousand protestors blocked railway tracks in Ara for five hours, which disrupted several Delhi-bound and other trains. “Over a dozen trains remained stranded at different stations due to protest,” a railway official in Ara said.
Protests on Tuesday spread to Buxar,Satan,Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts.
The Left parties including CPI,CPI (M) and CPI (ML) have condemned the police action to suppress the protest by jobless youths in support of their democratic rights
The CPI (ML) MLA from Agiaon seat in Bhojpur, who supported the protest at Ara railway station, said that protests ended at 10 p.m on the assurance that a delegation of protestors would meet the Divisional Railway Manager on Tuesday to submit their genuine grievances.
This is not the first time that jobless youth in Bihar have staged a protest against the Central government and Railway Ministry. There were protests by railway job aspirants in 2018, 2019 and 2020 .
More than 14 months after the NDA government came to power in Bihar, joblessness remains a big issue among the youth and no special announcement for recruitment to existing vacancies has been made so far.
The ruling BJP, 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 Assembly polls but to no effect.
Last month’s data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) revealed that the unemployment rate in Bihar rose to 16%.