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Jobless youths go on rampage

Jorhat, June 1: A young man was hit by rubber bullets this morning and several others were injured in police lathi-charge after hundreds of youths went on the rampage mistaking a training programme to be a recruitment drive.

They were protesting against an NGO called Indian Management Studies, which had reportedly come to organise a training programme on behalf of the directorate of employment and craftsmen training under the Assam government, instead of a recruitment rally for the defence forces.

The youths, who had come from several adjoining districts, damaged public property, vehicles and blocked the AT Road at Baruah Sariali here this morning.

Jorhat superintendent of police Amanjeet Kaur told The Telegraph that trouble started when the youths who came to the Jorhat stadium around 5am presuming a recruitment rally was going to be organised, got upset after coming to know that the NGO will conduct just a training programme for youths interested to participate in recruitment rallies of defence forces.

Police sources said Jintu Saikia, 21, a youth from Pulibor on the outskirts of Jorhat, received a bullet injury and was shifted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital from Jorhat Medical College and Hospital in the afternoon for advanced treatment. JMCH sources said Saikia’s condition was stable.

Kaur said the police did not fire live bullets but fired non-lethal rubber bullets and tear gas after failing to control the mob.

“Our men exercised a lot of restraint as the youths threw stones at policemen and vehicles and indulged in acts of vandalism. The police had to fire rubber bullets to bring the situation under control,” she said.

A newspaper advertisement on May 24 had said a “pre-recruitment training rally” would be organised by the directorate at the Jorhat stadium for the post of soldiers/sepoys (general duty) in the army and paramilitary forces on June 1 and 2 for the youths of Jorhat, Sivasagar, Golaghat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Lakhimpur, Karbi Anglong and Dhemaji districts.

In the advertisement issued in Assamese, Hindi and English dailies by Janasanyog (department of information and public relations, Assam) there was no mention of the NGO. The advertisement mentioned that after the screening and medical tests on the two days, the candidates will have to appear for a written test on June 8 at Sankardev Seminary High School here from 11am.

She said six members of the NGO, including its director Gaurav Khemka, and about 25 youths have been detained by the police after two FIRs were lodged at Jorhat police station.

One FIR has been lodged by the Jorhat (East) revenue circle officer, Samiran Bora, who was at the site of the incident, against the unruly youths for damaging public property, while the other one has been lodged by a group of youths alleging that the NGO had committed fraud.

Kaur said an investigation was on to determine whether the advertisement was fake or genuine and it would be known only after getting an official confirmation from the office of the directorate.

Kaur said no permission had been taken from the district administration or any information given to the police about the proposed training rally.

She said holding of such an event without permission was illegal since Section 144 was in force in Jorhat district.

The district administration has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. Jorhat deputy commissioner (in-charge) Bubul Lekharu told this correspondent that additional deputy commissioner Dwijen Singh has been asked to conduct the inquiry to find out under what circumstances the firing took place and submit the probe report within a week.

He said no such training rally would be organised at the stadium tomorrow as stated in the advertisement.

Interestingly, the director of the directorate of employment and craftsmen training, Babul Chandra Borbaruah, when contacted over phone, said he was not sure whether the particular advertisement was issued by his office.

“We have to check records and then can only confirm it,” Borburah said, admitting that sometimes work is outsourced by awarding contracts to NGOs to carry out certain awareness and training programmes for unemployed youths.


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