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Job seekers protesting against JKSSB detained in Jammu

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Jammu: Police Thursday detained scores of job seekers after they staged a demonstration for the second consecutive day here against the hiring of a previously black-listed company by Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) for conducting computer-based written tests (CBT).

The protesters came out on the roads despite assurances of a fair recruitment process by the JKSSB. The board has scheduled written tests from March 16 to April 05 at various examination centres across the Union Territory to fill various government vacancies.

A group of job aspirants assembled at Panama chowk and raised slogans against the hiring of APTECH Limited, the company which had been blacklisted in 2019.

They were detained by police, who forced them into two waiting buses and took them to a nearby police station.

“We are not even allowed to hold a peaceful protest to secure our future,” said a protester while being whisked away by police.

PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti reacted sharply to the use of police force against the protesters and said the action shows how deeply entrenched corruption is in J&K.

“JKSSB’s decision to continue with a fraudulent blacklisted company indicates how deeply entrenched corruption is in J&K. Sarkari babus responsible for this continue enjoying their positions at the cost of sabotaging the future of J&Ks youth. So much for corruption-free J&K,” Mufti tweeted.

According to the JKSSB, the company was hired as per the central and J&K government guidelines as it has already completed the blacklisting period of three years in May last year.

“When we are selecting a company for conducting a written examination, we also employ checks and balances to ensure transparency, accountability and fairness in the selection. We are following a procedure which matches the standards of major national level recruitment agencies,” an official of the recruiting agency had said.

The JKSSB said all arrangements have been put in place to ensure a fair and transparent exam.

“The CBT shall be conducted under CCTV surveillance for maintaining transparency in the examination. Besides, low frequency jammers are being installed in all the examination centres to prevent the use of unfair means including cheating using bluetooth and wi-fi enabled electronic devices,” an official spokesman said.

A third party has been hired to review the examination process of CBTs conducted by JKSSB to ensure an exam that is free from any malpractice, he said.

“The concerned district magistrates will issue prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code around the examination centres during the timing of exam, while a multi-layered structure for supervision has also been established with one Centre Observer and Centre Magistrate for each examination centre by the respective district administration,” the spokesman said.

Senior officers will also be deployed as General Observer by the General Administration Department and IT professionals will be deployed by the Information Technology Department for monitoring of the CBT exams, the official added.

Job aspirants protest in Kashmir too

Protests against the hiring of a previously blacklisted company by the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) for conducting written examinations for recruitment to various posts continued for the second day on Thursday.

Scores of job aspirants assembled at the Press Enclave here to protest against the company Aptech and the JKSSB.

They demanded scrapping of the contract of the company, alleging it has indulged in malpractices.

“JKSSB is forcing us to appear in examinations which are being conducted by a blacklisted company Aptech. They have too many ‘scandals’. Why are they allowing the company to continue when they have ‘scams’ and ‘scandals’,” one aspirant, Arif Hussain said.

He said job aspirants do not accept the examinations to be conducted by Aptech.

“We are submitting forms, we pay money. The examination conducted by the SSC in Rs 100 is conducted by Aptech in Rs 550. Why should we pay for a blacklisted company?” he said, adding protests will continue till Aptech is “thrown out”.

Another job aspirant, Shahid Farooq, said the contract with Aptech should be cancelled.

“The matter is also sub-judice, but then what is the need to conduct examinations. We are not hesitant to sit in exams, but we do not trust this agency. There should be investigations as to why the JKSSB is favouring this company. Why did they change their by-laws for this company?” he said.

The protestors also raised slogans against the company and JKSSB.

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