Protestors on Friday blocked roads and burnt tyres in support of the shutdown called in Bihar by students alleging irregularities in the results of the non-technical popular categories exam conducted by the Railway Recruitment Board, reported ANI.

Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA Dr Mukesh Raushan and his supporters also staged protests in Mahua town.

Job aspirants have been protesting against the alleged regularities since earlier this week. On Tuesday, they had clashed with the police in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. They had also set a passenger train on fire and threw stones at police in Bihar’s Arrah town.

In Patna, traffic was disrupted as bandh supporters burnt tyres on Ashok Rajpath, reported PTI. At the Dak Bungalow crossing, a busy roundabout, protestors shouted slogans.

They also reportedly clashed with the police when marching towards Raj Bhavan.

In Samastipur district, several women were seen in the demonstration led by All India Students Association, the students’ organisation affiliated to the Communist Party of India Liberation, according to PTI.

Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation leaders and members also held protests in Buxar, Jehanabad, Bhagalpur, Katihar, Begusarai, Munger and Darbhanga districts.

Protesters carry a police officer who fell unconscious while on duty during the Bihar bandh protests in Patna on Friday. (Image credit: PTI)

Grand Alliance extends support to shutdown

On Thursday, the Grand Alliance parties extended support to the shutdown. The Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress, the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that Bihar has the highest number of youths in the country and also the highest unemployment rate.

In a joint statement, they alleged that students were being cheated by the Centre as well as the Bihar government.

“It keeps promising jobs for them but when they come out on the streets demanding jobs, the Nitish Kumar government rains baton on them,” the statement said.

The parties demanded that all the first information reports registered against the students or coaching institutes be withdrawn immediately.

The All India Students Association, the students’ organisation affiliated to the Communist Party of India Liberation, claimed that the committee formed by the railway ministry to look into the irregularities in the exam was a conspiracy for postponing the matter till elections were over in Uttar Pradesh.

Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi also supported the protest calls. The party is a constituent of Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance.

Manjhi said that the FIRs against teachers of coaching institutes in Patna can only help intensify the agitation.

“The time has come for the governments to talk on unemployment and come-out with a solution,” Manjhi said.

Senior BJP leader and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi also said the state government should not to take any coercive action against the protesting students.

“I personally met the Union Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in connection with the ongoing students’ protests against the RRB-NTPC exam,” he said. “The Railway minister has assured me that the ministry will not conduct two computer-based tests for the RRB-NTPC exam.”

Meanwhile, Patna District Magistrate Chandrashekhar Singh said that the police have arrested four students for pelting stones and vandalism at Rajendra Nagar Terminal in Patna during the protest on Monday, reported NDTV.

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The protest

Apart from pointing out anomalies in recruitments, the candidates have claimed that the cut-off of the exam was very high and that a single candidate was selected for several roles, limiting the opportunities for other aspirants.

Some candidates have also alleged that the recruiters have favoured candidates with higher education for posts that require fewer qualifications.

The results of the first round of exams had been declared on January 14 and January 15. As of now, the second round of the exam that was to be held on February 15 stands cancelled.

On Wednesday, the Centre had formed a committee to resolve the matter.

The job aspirants can mail their concerns and suggestions to the panel on the website, till February 12. The committee will examine the complaints and give its recommendations by March 4.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has said that the Railway Recruitment Board chairpersons have also been directed to listen to students’ concerns and inform the committee about them.