Several civil services aspirants, fed up with political apathy towards their cause, marched towards Parliament House here on Monday before being stopped by the Delhi Police.
The march was a result of careful planning over several months and materialised only after months of knocking at the doors of MPs, said the protestors.
“This is our ninth protest, but it is the first time I felt that people were paying attention,” said Sunil Singh, one of the aspirants.
He and his small band of friends had gathered at the Central Secretariat Metro station by 12 noon and slowly started moving towards Parliament. “We have been planning this for 15 days now. We wanted it to be sudden and catch the authorities unawares. So the plan was to gather in small groups in and around the area and slowly move towards Parliament. We were updating each other by SMSs. Our arrival in the area was coordinated to the time of the arrival of seven bus loads of others from different parts of the city,” he said.
In any protest, it is a usual sight to see a police van on standby as well as cops holding ready lathis. “Only some of us were lathi-charged and that too in the end after we had managed to storm into Parliament. There were more of us who were detained for some hours in the police station,” said Kunal Kishore, one of the aspirants who was caught.
The trouble started when certain changes were introduced in the UPSC exam regarding structure and certain “foreign languages” were done away with. The aspirants are not against the change itself but the way it was introduced, putting them at a severe disadvantage. “This is only the second time that changes have been made in the exam; the last time was in 1979 when three fresh attempts and an age relaxation were provided to all candidates. However, this time round no attempts or age relaxation are being provided,” added Kunal.
The students want three fresh attempts as well as a three-year relaxation to be provided to all of them regardless of category. They also claim that the new structure discriminates against those who are not from urban or English-speaking backgrounds.
“We have been meeting a lot of politicians, our issues were already raised during a special attention motion in both the Houses. But nobody is doing anything about it,” said Sunil, who had scheduled more appointments with MPs.