RAJKOT: In the wake of the announcement of Agnipath scheme by the government earlier this week, over 1,000 youngsters who had cleared their physical fitness tests before two years according to an old recruitment drive gathered outside the Army Recruitment Office (ARO) in Jamnagar on Saturday, demanding that the written tests for their selection be held now.
They said that they had been waiting for their written tests for two years and the same should be held before the implementation of Agnipath scheme. The police, however, downplayed the number of candidates who came to the ARO.
The ARO near G G hospital is Jamnagar is the centre where recruitment for entire Saurashtra and Kutch and the Union Territory of Diu takes place. The candidates who came to the ARO on Saturday were from entire Saurashtra and Kutch. They had cleared their physical fitness tests for ‘sepoy’ posts but their written tests had not been conducted in view of Covid.
These candidates had taken the physical fitness tests after clearing their class 10 and/or 12 exams and were waiting for their recruitment. But they were disappointed when the government announced the Agnipath scheme.
Rohit Parmar, who came from Dhelana village of Mangrol taluka in Junagadh district, said: “We came to Jamangar at 4am by train. As we gathered near Rajput Samaj, the police reached there and detained us in a bus, telling us to wind up the protest. It is a question of our life. How could we wind up the protest?”
He said he could have studied further but it was his dream since childhood to join the army and that was why after class 10 exam, he cleared the physical fitness test. He prepared for four years so he could get selected, he said.
Indicating that he was against the Agnipath scheme, Parmar said: “It takes four years for a candidate to understand the Army. But the new scheme will end our job by the time we understand the Army.’’
According to eyewitnesses, the police tried to disperse the gathering by threatening them with arrest. The police used light force and were ready with water cannon in case the situation went of control. The police asked the candidates to go back.
The candidates had created a WhatsApp group to exchange messages regarding the recruitment process and they decided to gather here on Saturday. The police was closely monitoring the WhatsApp group. According to police, some Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders had provoked the candidates.
Jamnagar superintendent of police, Premsukh Delu, said: “There were 100 to 150 students who came here. They submitted a memorandum to ARO officials and left. The law and order is under control, nobody was arrested and no offence was registered.”
He added, “We found two AAP leaders were involved in leading the candidates, we detained them and released them later.”