Delhi Police on Saturday shut down outlets selling water, toilets in the vicinity and ordered Delhi Metro to stop its services to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in a bid to disperse several thousand youth who have been camping near the office of Staff Selection Commission. The students have been camping there since February 28 demanding a CBI inquiry into the selection process after online questions papers and answers got leaked on social media.
The unemployed youth have taken it upon themselves to keep the area clean.
The youth, many of whom had travelled to Delhi from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, defied the restrictions and refused to leave even on Holi, deciding in favour of continuing the street protest. Alleging widespread corruption in the selection process, they claim that they are convinced that candidates coughing up money are getting preference over those who refuse to do so or are not in a position to grease the palm of officials.
While on social media the controversy has generated some attention, the mainstream media have so far ignored the issue. The following tweet and the thread with videos explain the controversy in simple terms:
Piyush and Anil Ranjan from Bihar told NH that they had both appeared in the test for selection of Sub-inspectors in Jharkhand. But while Piyush secured 316 marks out of a total of 360 and Ranjan secured 280 marks, the cut-off mark, they pointed out, was an unusually high 334, which left them in the lurch.
The young men, many of them undergraduates or just graduates, waved the national flag and a group of 20 odd ‘ teachers’ took turns to ensure that the protest does not become violent. One of the teachers, Neetu Singh, told NH that coaching institutes in the national capital and teachers have been supporting the agitation and supplying food and water to the young men.
Asked why teachers were part of the agitation, Singh told NH that they have been disturbed at the growing trend of selecting less meritorious candidates. She alleged that while she has been coaching candidates since 2005, she can vouch for a spurt in such selection since 2012-13 and which has now reached a peak. “It is frustrating for teachers as well as genuine, hard-working and meritorious candidates to find themselves left out in preference to less deserving candidates,” she said.
They had submitted documentary evidence and case studies to the Staff Selection Commission on February 27, the teachers said, but the SSC has only offered to conduct an internal inquiry. The candidates, however, are demanding a CBI inquiry into the selection.
Agitated candidates told NH that the corruption operated at different levels and one of them is in the selection of examination centres. While dubious cyber cafes and private computer centres, some with definite political affiliations, have been permitted to conduct the online examinations, which continue in batches over several months, the Commission and the Government has made no attempt to hold examinations in its own examination centres. An inquiry into the selection of examination centres would also reveal irregularities, they alleged.
The SSC, they complained, is far less transparent than the UPSC and all that they are demanding is a CBI inquiry and greater transparency in future.