| A RAF jawan stands guard during a flag-march in Jamshedpur. Picture by Uma Shankar Dubey
May 25: The state is on edge on the eve of the 48-hour Jharkhand bandh, called by pro-domicile groups to oppose primary teachers’ recruitment tests scheduled for May 27.
The government said foolproof arrangements have been made to foil the strike. Section 144 has been clamped in all major cities and forces are being deployed at all sensitive points.
Tomorrow may well be peaceful, police sources said, but “trouble is definitely expected on May 27”, the day of the exam to recruit around 10,000 teachers.
Candidates, many from Bihar and Orissa, have been pouring into all cities that have exam centres.
One such centre in Dhanbad, SSLNT School, was targeted today by bandh supporters who hurled petrol bombs at the building. No one was injured though some furniture was burnt.
Deputy commissioner Nitin Kulkarni said he suspected members of the All Jharkhand Students’ Union for the attack.
Ranchi district geared up for likely violence with forces being deployed at 76 centres, of which 20 are “most sensitive”. Each will be under the charge of a deputy superintendent of police, assisted by paramilitary forces, fire tenders and ambulances. Anti-riot vehicles, equipped with water canons, tear-gas shells and rubber bullets, have been stationed in the capital.
“Nine checkpoints will be made at the entrances to the capital. These will be at Kathitand, Hehal, Ormanjhi, Namkum, Pithoria, Hatia, Sithio and Tupudana. The checkposts will stop the entry of disturbing elements,” a senior bureaucrat said in Ranchi today.
“To ensure peaceful conduct of exams, regular magistrates have been deployed for distribution of question papers in the morning and collection of answer sheets in the evening. They will start their duty from 7 am…”
Several pro-domicile leaders have been arrested in preventive police raids across the state.
“We face a test of our identity and self-pride. The bandh has not been called only for opposing the recruitments. It is a fight for realising the dreams for which Jharkhand was formed. The tests will be disrupted even if we have to face bullets,” a leader of the Adivasi Moolvasi Janadhikar Manch said.
Jamshedpur has been fortified with a company of the Rapid Action Force, whose jawans conducted flag-marches in sensitive localities today. Railway stations and bus depots have been safeguarded for examinees with extra police force.
The anti-domicile lobby in Dhanbad got a shot in the arm today after Rajiv Ranjan Singh, nephew of urban development minister Bachcha Singh, warned off those trying to obstruct the exam. “Any move to stop any of the candidates will not be tolerated. We will ensure their safety,” he said.