Arunachal Pradesh: APPSC paper leak protests turn violent in Itanagar
Daily life in Arunachal Pradesh's Itanagar was affected for the second day on Saturday after a protest launched by the Pan Arunachal Joint Steering Committee (PAJSC) turned violent. Agitators took to the streets and blocked the highway, seeking the fulfillment of a 13-point charter of demands over allegations of a question paper leak of the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) examination last year.
Why does this story matter?
- Over the past few days, the northeastern state's capital city has been witnessing protests over the alleged paper leak.
- The protests began after the state government organized an oath-taking ceremony for the new APPSC members. The commission earlier saw numerous suspensions amid allegations of a paper leak of the written test (Mains) for the assistant engineer (Civil) position held on August 27-28 last year.
Protests continued in Itanagar under tight security
Protesters continued their protest on Saturday even amid heavy security deployment on the roads and at high-security areas like the Raj Bhawan, the State Legislative Assembly, and the Civil Secretariat buildings. At least 10 people were injured on Friday after protesters clashed with the police in Itanagar, after which cops resorted to firing tear gas shells and lathi charges to control the unruly crowd.
Itanagar streets turn violent
PAJSC activists launched the protest after their objections over the new APPSC chairperson's appointment didn't receive any response, violating the previously-imposed CrPC Section 144, which restricts the gathering of four or more individuals in an area. Violent protesters reportedly torched a car and a motorcycle, ransacked several properties in Itanagar, pelted stones at the police, and injured four security personnel, reported The Indian Express.
Internet services suspended in Arunachal's capital
On Friday, Arunachal's Home Department issued an order announcing that the internet services of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and other private service providers would be suspended until 5:00 pm on Sunday. As per the order, the decision was reportedly taken "to prevent further occurrence of serious law & order problems and in the interest of public emergency/safety."
Arunachal Pradesh government calls off oath ceremony amid protests
Amid the violent protests, the state government decided to call off the new APPSC members' oath ceremony as the protesters demanded the deferment of the event. The agitators also voiced objections against the appointment of 61-year-old former Lieutenant General Shantanu Dayal as the commission's chairperson. Notably, the chairperson has to retire at the age of 62, as per the APPSC rules.
Visuals of the protest
Know about ANSU and AAPSU's protests
The All Nyishi Students Union (ANSU) and All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) had also held numerous protests, after which Arnuchal Chief Minister Pema Khandu stated that his government took a "serious note" of the paper peak issue. He also said that the state government was working to "streamline" the recruitment system under the public service commission test.
CBI probing APPSC examination paper leakage issue
The APPSC examination paper leakage case has various key developments, including the government launching a police inquiry, a special probe cell being constituted under the vigilance department, and the investigation being handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in September 2022. On December 9 last year, a charge sheet was filed by the central probe agency against eight individuals in the investigation.