New Delhi: Hundreds of job aspirants protesting against the Railway Recruitment Board’s Non-Technical Popular Categories (RRB-NTPC) exam results 2021 on Wednesday allegedly set the Shramjeevi Express on fire at Gaya Junction in Bihar.
Shramjeevi Express had been diverted through Gaya due to violent protests by the aspirants in other parts of the state including the capital Patna. A large group of protesters, who had assembled at Gaya Junction since Wednesday morning, started vandalising railway property claiming irregularities in the exam, and then allegedly torched the train.
They also clashed with the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and threw stones at them. Retaliating to the violence, the RPF lobbed tear gas shells at the aspirants.
A large contingent of the police force was rushed to the railway station and the protesters dispersed through force. “The situation is under control now. They have set it (coach/train) on fire. We have identified some of them,” stated Gaya Senior Superintendent of Police Aditya Kumar.
The Gaya incident is the second time in as many days when a train has been torched in the state. On Tuesday, a passenger train was set on fire in Arrah district allegedly by students protesting against irregularities in the Railways recruitment examination results. All the passengers of the train, which was going to Sasaram from Arrah, had reportedly disembarked from the train and no one was injured in the incident.
Thousands of aspirants across Bihar have been opposing the Railways decision to hold the RRB-NTPC exams in two stages. They claim that the second stage for final selection was like “cheating” those who appeared and cleared the first stage of the RRB-NTPC for computer-based test (CBT) which was released on January 15, 2022.
Train services have been disrupted across the state since Tuesday as thousands of protesters have been squatting on rail tracks at several places.
Railway authorities were forced to either cancel or divert trains following the protests. Protests have been reported from Patna, Nawada, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Buxar, and Bhojpur districts in the state.
The protests started taking a violent turn on Monday, resulting in the cancellation of at least five long-distance trains originating from Patna. Routes of some other trains were diverted as the protesters blocked tracks at Rajendra Nagar Terminal in the state capital.
In view of the students’ agitation regarding alleged irregularities in the Railway Recruitment Board exam, the Railway Ministry on Wednesday decided to suspend both the Non-Technical Popular Categories (NTPC) and Level 1 tests.
The Railway Ministry has constituted a committee that will listen to the views of the candidates who cleared or failed and following that the committee will submit its report to the Ministry of Railways. Only after that, the Railway Ministry would take a decision regarding the exam.
The job aspirants had previously blocked the New Delhi-Kolkata main railway tracks and some others protested in Arrah and Bihar Sharif Railway station.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)