Congress backs movement, suicide attempt by agitators
The controversy over backdoor appointments threatened to ignite a youth backlash against the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government. The Congress attempted to capitalise on the perceived outrage at reports of widespread favouritism and corruption in appointments.
The allegations seemed to spark a visceral feel of abandonment among hundreds waiting for appointment letters after having cleared Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) tests for government jobs.
A “leaked” audio clip of the solar investment case suspect seeking cash for backdoor appointments allegedly at the behest of CPI(M) leaders added a new twist to the dispute. PSC rank holders agitated across the State against the rampant “nepotism” in job placement. The protesters transcended party lines.
The ongoing agitation by PSC rank holders in front of the Secretariat took a worrying turn for the second consecutive day on Tuesday.
A few youths who had cleared the PSC examination for appointment to the post of civil police officer (CPO) climbed a tall building nearby and threatened to jump down. The police thwarted the attempt.
On Monday, the police had foiled an attempt by a PSC rank holder to set himself on fire. The CPO rank list had come under a cloud after a police inquiry revealed that at least two SFI leaders had cheated in the test.
Subsequently, the government froze the list. The CPO rank holder’s association has demanded the government commence the suspended appointments.
In Kalady, Campus Front and Fraternity activists clashed with the police in front of the Sanskrit University. They were protesting the selection of R. Ninitha, wife of CPI(M) leader M.B. Rajesh, as an assistant professor in the Malayalam department in the Muslim reservation category “overlooking” better-qualified candidates.
The police used water cannon to disperse a march by PSC rank holders in Ernakulam. In Kannur, rank holders staged protested in front of the Collectorate.
Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said the agitations were politically motivated. No government could appoint every person in the PSC rank list. Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan said compassion had prompted the government to regularise contract employees. The government would not abandon them.
KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran slammed the government for being insensitive to unemployed youth. Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the Opposition would intensify the protests.
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