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Railways suspends recruitment exams, amid fears of protests spreading

The Railways announced on Wednesday it had suspended the recruitment tests for (NTPC) after protests erupted in many parts of Bihar

Railways suspends recruitment exams, amid fears of protests spreading
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The Railways announced on Wednesday it had suspended the recruitment tests for Non-Technical Popular Categories (NTPC) after protests erupted in many parts of Bihar.

The second round of examinations in the NTPC recruitment drive was to begin from February 15.

Protests were reported from Patna, Nawada, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Buxar and Bhojpur districts on Monday and Tuesday.

At some places, angry protesters blocked railway tracks, clashed with security forces and vandalised railway property. In Sitamarhi, police fired in the air to disperse angry demonstrators at the railway station.

The candidates were angry at the Railways decision to hold the examination in two stages, claiming the second stage for final selection was tantamount to "cheating" those who appeared and cleared the first stage of the NTPC exam for computer-based test (CBT), which was released on January 15.

The protests affected the operations of over 25 trains in Bihar. The Indian Express reported that intelligence agencies had inputs that job seekers were mobilising over the issue in other states also.

The Railways has formed a committee to examine the concerns of the protesters. "Candidates have been given three weeks' time up to February 12 to submit their concerns and the committee after examining these concerns will submit its recommendations by March 4," The Indian Express reported.

Sources reported that Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw decided to suspend the exams early on Wednesday "in light of the worsening law and order situation in Bihar".

A Railways official told sources that "The situation was just going out of our hands and spilling over other parts of India. They were mobilising through Telegram groups, WhatsApp and other social media."

On Wednesday, Rahul declared his support for the protesters.

The Congress Twitter handle also shared a video clip of protesters blocking a rail track. It tweeted, "Dictatorship BJP government will not be able to win in front of this power of youth in the republic. These youths have come out with the power of democracy and the dreams of the future in their eyes..."

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