Bandh affects life in ICR

ITANAGAR, 18 Feb: Normal life was affected in the Itanagar Capital Region (ICR) on Saturday as the ‘public’ bandh enforced to press for fulfilment of the 13-point charter of demands of the Pan Arunachal Joint Steering Committee (PAJSC) related to the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission’s (APPSC) question paper leak scam entered the second day.

In the ICR, comprising Itanagar, Naharlagun, Nirjuli and Banderdewa areas, business establishments, markets, banks, educational institutes, and government and private offices remained closed and vehicles were off the road, a senior police officer said.

Thousands of protestors blocked NH 415 by burning tyres.

The government temporarily suspended internet services in the ICR from 6 pm of Friday to 5 pm of Sunday “in the interest of public safety.”

The government order said the step was taken at the request of the director general of police to “prevent further occurrence of serious law and order problems during the bandh, which has taken a serious turn after destruction of police barricades, lathi-charge and firing of tear gas shells.”

Scores of protestors and police personnel were injured in subsequent clashes on Friday, which compelled the police to resort to lathi-charge and to lob tear gas shells, officials said.

The situation prompted Chief Minister Pema Khandu to call off the oath-taking of the APPSC chairman and members on Friday. He also invited the members of the PAJSC to the civil secretariat on Saturday for a discussion. However, the protestors refused the invitation, saying that the bandh would continue till all the demands are fulfilled.

The state government on Friday postponed the state board exams for Classes 5, 7 and 11, that had been scheduled for Saturday. An official order stated that the board exams in all schools of the capital region have been postponed and would be held later.

The committee is demanding that all exams conducted by the APPSC, of which question papers were allegedly leaked, be declared null and void; immediate arrest of the former commission chairman, secretary, members and other officers; a court-monitored Enforcement Directorate probe into the scam; and immediate dismissal of the state government officers involved in it.

It also demanded that the recruitment examination be henceforth conducted by the Union Public Service Commission; that the report of the three-member committee on AE (civil) paper leak be made public; that the three state government officers posted under the APPSC be recalled; and that all candidates be given compensation of Rs 5 lakhs each. (PTI)