Thousands march against ‘null & void’ demand

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 8 Mar: Thousands of people, mostly relatives and parents of affected officers, took out a peaceful march here on Tuesday against the state government’s decision to recommend to the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) to take a decision on declaring ‘null and void’ all exams conducted by the APPSC since 2014.

The march was organised by the Parents Joint Committee against Null & Void (PJCNV), demanding rolling back of the government’s recommendation. The committee urged the government to initiate fair and speedy investigation into the APPSC cash-for-job scam and ensure that no innocent is punished.

The marchers raised slogans such as “Nai chaiye, nai chaiye, null and void nai chaiye!” and “Hona hai, hona hai, investigation hona hai!” (We oppose the null & void demand; let the investigation be carried out.)

Members of the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU), community-based organisations, parents, and senior politicians, including former chief minister Gegong Apang, participated in the march.

The state government had on 18 February recommended that the APPSC take a call on declaring null and void the exams conducted by the commission, after a meeting between the government and protestors led by the Pan Arunachal Joint Steering Committee (PAJSC).

Addressing the marchers, PJCNV general secretary Ajay Matam said that “demanding null and void of the exams is not a solution; rather, null and void would be a mass murder and create open graveyards.”

Matam alleged that “the PAJSC has been spreading disinformation and misguiding the innocent people over the last few months and creating hatred by resorting to mobocracy.”

“The PAJSC should refrain from misguiding a few sections of the public for their individual benefits. If the committee dares, then it should demand null and void of all the exams conducted by the commission from 1988 till date,” Matam said, adding that “the state government should not succumb to mobocracy tactics but look into the merit of the issue.

“The only solution to the issue is to approach the court and in-depth investigation of the case by the CBI. The investigating agency is capable of dealing with such cases. Therefore, let the premier investigating agency continue with the investigation process,” he said, adding that the candidates are open to any kind of investigation and narcoanalysis test.

Matam further argued that the ‘null & void’ demand “is injustice to all genuine candidates, and will also affect their families, who have invested years in their children.

“Because of someone’s fault, the entire candidate can’t be punished,” he said.

AAPSU president Tana Dozi Tara, who also took part in the rally, made it clear that the union stands strong against the ‘null & void’ demand.

“From day one, AAPSU’s stand was clear that we oppose null and void. Our demand is that innocent candidates should not be victimised and the culprits should be punished,” said Tara.

“The government is equally responsible for creating this situation. When AAPSU wants a better Arunachal, the government is paying heed to unscrupulous organisations,” he said, and informed that the union would go ahead with enforcing a bandh on 14 March.

“AAPSU will not let null and void happen. No government and authority would dare to declare null and void,” he added, reiterating the AAPSU’s stand.