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Paper leak scam: Uttarakhand govt 'fails to act effectively' against nakal mafia

Counterview Desk 

India's top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), calling the demands of Uttarakhand Berozgar Andolan legitimate, has said that the jobless who the streets last week, exposing the paper leak scams and seeking a fair recruitment mechanism and employment, are facing state repression at the hands of the BJP government.
Failing to address concerns of the unemployed youth, NAPM demanded institution of Court-monitored CBI inquiry into all the paper leak scams,even as insisting that all the youth who were arrested during protests should be released immediately.

Text:

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) unequivocally condemns the repressive high-handedness of the BJP Government on the unemployed youth of Uttarakhand, who hit the streets last week, exposing the paper leak scams and seeking a fair recruitment mechanism and employment. We demand that all the arrested youth be immediately released and a court-monitored CBI inquiry into all the exam-paper leak scams be instituted.
While the nation’s attention is riveted on the Adani exposé, here is another mega-scam rocking the hill state of Uttarakhand: The Paper Leak Corruption Scandal or infamously called Nakal Mafia. It is outrageous that instead of dialoguing with the agitated youth and responding to their legitimate demands, the Pushkar Singh Dhami government ordered multiple rounds of lathi charge, grievously injuring some youngsters. As if this were not enough, key members of Uttarakhand Berozgar Sangh including Bobby Panwar, Ram Kandwal, Sandeep Singh, Mukesh Singh, Anil Kumar, Aman Chauhan, Shubham Singh Negi, Lusoon Toradia, Hariom, Mohan Kainthola, Ramesh Tomar, Nitin Dutt, Amit Panwar have been arrested and a range of arbitrary charges have been foisted against them. Reportedly, cases have been filed against many other youth who were part of the peaceful mobilization in the past few days.
The history of exam scams in Uttarakhand goes back at least until 2016, and over the years there have been multiple paper leaks; including for recruitments as village panchayat development officers, UKPCS, UKSSSC, AE/JE and other exams. In quite a few of these, there have been strong allegations against certain persons close to the ruling BJP as well as some officers, responsible for the paper leaks. The blatant complicity of people like Sanjay Dhariwal, Hakam Singh, Chandan Manral, Sanjeev Chaturvedi etc. has been in the open and owing to intense public pressure, some action had to be taken against a few of these alleged scamsters. However, with the kind of crackdown it has unleashed, it is evident that the State government has not only deliberately failed in taking effective action against the culprits, but wants to shield those who are responsible for the paper leaks, at any cost.
As a face-saving measure, the Chief Minister, with the assent of the Governor, has now promulgated an ordinance called the Uttarakhand Competitive Exams (Measures for Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Ordinance, 2023, which the youth term as a ‘hogwash’ and are firm on CBI inquiry and stringent action against the violators. There is also widespread outrage against the hurried conduct of the patwari and accountant (lekhapal) exams on 12th Feb, when the concerned key officer in the Exam Department (Mr Chaturvedi) has been suspended for being part of the paper leak scam.
As we all know, Uttarakhand is still reeling under the recent Joshimath disaster, which is yet another warning in a series of development-induced mishaps. Even as affected people have been struggling for fair support and rehabilitation, those who have been challenging the reckless ‘development’ and its impacts are being called names and even termed anti-nationals! This has now become a predictable trend for the BJP government to brand anyone who challenges its anti-people policies and crimes as ‘anti-nationals’.
While nation’s attention is riveted on Adani exposé, here is another mega-scam rocking the hill state of Uttarakhand
India is going through a severe crisis of joblessness and the BJP government, in particular, has miserably failed to address these concerns of millions of youth and has only been resorting to jumla, name-calling, fake cases, arrests and violence. We are given to understand that the unrest amongst the youth is intensifying across districts of Uttarakhand and there are plans for further mobilization towards Dehradun and Delhi, if the State does not relent. We are of the considered view that the Government must take meaningful measures immediately to reassure the youth, instead of responding with an iron fist.
We extend our full solidarity to the struggling youth of Uttarakhand and demand that:
  • The Government of Uttarakhand end this spree of repression and enter into immediate and constructive dialogue with youth on their legitimate demands.
  • All the 13 arrested youth be released immediately and charges foisted against them and others be dropped forthwith.
  • High level Court-monitored and time-bound CBI Inquiry into all-Paper Leak Scams in the state since 2016, be instituted and stringent action be taken against all violators, fixing command responsibility.
  • Action be taken against those officers and police personnel who ordered and executed brutal lathi charge and injured students.
NAPM salutes the thousands of young people who have taken to streets to expose these scams and despite the chilling repression, continue to challenge the corruption, brutality and might of the State through peaceful mass organizing.
The youth of India and Uttarakhand have a right to employment. They equally have a right to a fair examination and recruitment system, free of corruption and malpractices.
We appeal to the Uttarakhand Berozgar Sangh and youth of the state to continue their struggle in a firm and peaceful way. The democratic movements of India are with you.

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