APPSC paper leak: Protests turn violent in Itanagar, internet blocked

Normal life has been disrupted in Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, after internet services were cut off during a clash between the Pan Arunachal Joint Steering Committee (PAJSC) and Itanagar police personnel, injuring 10 people including four police officers .

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The PAJSC called a strike last year over the leak of the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) recruitment exam paper and violence. The PAJSC observed a mass movement on Friday and convened a 12-hour bandh over the paper leak.

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Amid the clashes, a bandh was declared in the city with the suspension of internet services, which will last until 5 p.m. Sunday, to prevent the further emergence of serious law and order problems, according to an Interior Ministry order on Friday.

The clashes came after protesters allegedly threw stones at security personnel, looted some properties and set fire to a car and a motorcycle. The cops resorted to the lathi charge and detonated tear gas grenades to control the agitators.

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The protests came shortly after the state government organized a swearing-in ceremony for new members of the APPSC.

The swearing-in ceremony was halted after protesters objected to the appointment of retired Lt. Gen. (LG) Shantanu Dayal as APPSC chairman. Dayal is 61, while the commission has made arrangements for the chairman to retire at 62.

After receiving no response to their objections, PAJSC activists took to the streets on Friday amid prohibition restrictions imposed under Section 144.

Earlier, All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) and All Nyishi Students Union (ANSU) held a series of protests over the issue and also mentioned similar paper leaks that occurred in 2014 and 2017.

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Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh Prime Minister Pema Khandu expressed his concern at the clash between protesters and security personnel in Itanagar and pledged to investigate the matter with serious concern.

A special investigation cell was set up under the Vigilance Department, and the paper leak issue was turned over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in September last year. After an investigation, they filed an indictment against eight defendants in December last year.

Six, including exam officer Taket Jerang, former deputy secretary and deputy exam director of the Commission, a teacher at a coaching institute and a candidate on the entrance exam, were arrested for leaking paper in the written exam (Mains). for the post of Assistant Engineer (civilian) last year.

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Due to the bandh in the capital, shops, markets, banks, educational institutions, government and private offices have been closed and vehicles have been kept off the streets.