SRINAGAR: Police on Wednesday opened fire after thousands of candidates who had come to appear in a written test at Srinagar’s Indoor Stadium for various posts in the Department of Fire and Emergency Services held protests against authorities for mismanagement in conducting the exam.
Eyewitnesses told Kashmir Reader that around 15 thousand youth had assembled inside and outside the stadium for the written test for fireman and fireman driver, creating a pandemonium that resulted in traffic gridlock as well. The venue was too small for such a huge number of candidates, hence resulting in the mess.
The aspirants had started gathering outside the venue from early morning and by 10:30 am candidates from all the districts of the Valley had reached the spot.
The venue was too small for such a huge number of candidates, resulting in the mess, said the eyewitnesses.
As the number of candidates kept on swarming, the examiners were forced to bolt the doors of the examination hall from inside. A huge number of students were forced to stand outside the examination halls, and not knowing what to do they pelted stones on the building of stadium.
The policemen swung into action and lathi charged the candidates who resorted to stone pelting, resulting in damage to the nearby buildings. Police fired in the air to disperse the protesters. Authorities later cancelled the test.
“The situation went out of control and police was forced to swing into action,” a police spokesman was quoted as saying by the PTI. He said thje protests also led to traffic snarls around the area.
“We had come to attend the written test but sufficient arrangements were not made by the authorities,” one of the aspirants told Kashmir Reader.
Director General, Fire Service and Emergency, Dr GA Bhat didn’t respond to calls from Kashmir Reader.
But an official of the department said the situation was created by those candidates who did not pass the earlier test and could not make the cut for today’s examination.
“Those candidates who were dropped for this test went on a rampage. The situation went out of control and we had to seek police assistance,” the official told the PTI.
He said the department has postponed the test till further notice.
Meanwhile, police also restored to lathi charge in Jammu on Wednesday after candidates blocked Jammu-Pathankot highway near Bikram Chowk for three hours to show their resentment against the state administration and Fire and Emergency Services Department for mismanagement in conducting the exam.
Amid anti-government slogans, the candidates started protest rally from Kaka Kendra to Bikram Chowk in support of their demand, causing great inconvenience to people as a result of massive traffic jams.
On receiving information, Jammu Deputy Commissioner and other officials rushed to the spot and pacified the protesters. But the protesters did not listen and continued their protest against the Fire and Emergency Services department for postponing the written test.
Later, the cops led by SSP Uttam Chand swung into action and resorted to lathi charge on the protesters who refused to clear the traffic movement till their grievances were addressed. The agitated candidates also showed stiff resistance and crossed the temporary barricades erected by police. The movement of traffic was affected for around three hours because of the clashes.—With Sohail Punjabi in Jammu