Protesting APPSCCE candidates question GoAP, AAPSU’s silence

ITANAGAR, Nov 11: The protesting mains qualified candidates of the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Combined Competitive Examination (APPSCCE) are now questioning the state government and the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (APPSU) over their stoic silence on the matter.
Continuing their protest on the second day of the APPSCCE (Mains) outside the state legislative assembly here on Sunday, the candidates said they have submitted representations to the offices of the governor and the chief minister, but are yet to receive a response from them.
The candidates also highlighted that the AAPSU had earlier intervened in the matter of the Geography Series C answers, and asked why the union is silent now.
They also claimed that the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (AAPSC) was under political pressure to conduct the examination before the 2019 election.
They claimed that the commission had told them that “there was a lot of pressure from higher ups in the government to conduct the exam within this year, which is why it could not postpone the examination.”
While they said they do not have evidence to back their claims, they were reportedly told this during one of their meetings with the commission, when they asked why the mains examination could not be postponed.
Nullifying the allegation, APPSC Secretary Taru Talo said the commission is an independent and autonomous body and the government cannot give such a direction to it.
“The allegation of political influence is completely baseless. We have not received any such direction from anyone,” he said.
The secretary also clarified on several other allegations.
On claims from candidates who appeared for the exam at the Kingcup Public School centre that a few candidates were allowed to enter the exam hall during the break between the sessions, the secretary said such an incident was not possible to have occurred.
He, however, added that the commission has the discretion to extend the time, and candidates who arrived late were given extra time, and the last candidate was allowed in at 10.50 am.
Many also came out to claim that they had arrived at the school centre on Saturday to give the exam but failed to do so because of the crowd. They also said they were unaware that security personnel were escorting the candidates inside.
The secretary said all the candidates “knew of the circumstances and accordingly many came before time.” He said those who were delayed due to the crowd were also allowed to enter later.
“Those who were determined to give the exam did appear for it with the help of the magistrate and security personnel. The police also made announcements for candidates who required help in entering,” he said.
Talo asserted that extension of the exam date was not possible at this stage. He said the APPSC had petitioned to lift the status quo to allow the commission to conduct the examination.
“After being granted permission by the court, how can we say we don’t want it? It becomes contempt. There is no discretion (of the APPSC) here,” he said, adding that the same had been explained to the candidates.
Squashed between the protesting candidates and the APPSC, a few of the candidates who appeared for the examination said the protest affected them when they were writing their examinations.
Speaking to reporters after the afternoon session, a candidate said, “My first paper went well, but the mob arrived here (APPSC centre) in the afternoon session and the commission was unable to take appropriate measures to control it. Someone was crying, someone was shouting. I was not able to concentrate during the second paper, and that is an intangible loss which the commission won’t take note of.”
He appealed to the commission to “come up with a solution at the earliest or expect more candidates to gradually opt out from appearing for the rest of the papers.”
Sharing the same sentiment, another candidate said she had to leave the classroom and find someone in authority, so that the situation could be made suitable for writing the exam.
She also claimed that several candidates from her class left early owing to the psychological pressure they felt because of the protest outside.
According to the APPSC, out of the 1,339 candidates who qualified for the mains, 1,336 had applied for the examination.
On Sunday, the commission informed that the commission’s centre had 471 candidates in the morning, and it reduced to 463 in the afternoon. The Kingcup Public School centre maintained its attendance of 174 candidates during both sessions.