Alleging cheating to the tune of Rs. 1.2 lakh, a few students backed by some activists staged a protest and stormed the premises of a “training institute” in Kulashekhar where heated exchanges, threats of violence and stories of financial penury played out on Tuesday.
According to a few students who had turned up from as far away as Hassan district, the Academy of Career Guidance Incorporation (Trust) had taken amounts ranging from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 1.2 lakh promising them a job in the army – as clerks, technical department and others – by getting their entrance examination sheets “passed”.
“They had taken Rs. 30,000 from me and guaranteed a job. It has been eight months and nothing has happened. They refuse to return my money too,” said Manoj P.D. from Sakleshpur. He said he was approached with this offer through an agent.
For Chennaiah, a daily-wage worker, paying for his son’s Rs. 50,000 in the institute involved taking loans from surreptitious money lenders. However, after failing to get his money back, his son Manjunath B.C. fled fearing reproach from his family.
“I haven’t seen him for eight days now. The Trust has given a cheque, but it has bounced,” he said.
Another student said he paid Rs. 1.2 lakh to be taken to Madhya Pradesh for a job.
Though expressing concern about the money – his father is a daily-wage labourer and is struggling to pay back the mounting interest – he remained away from the protests, hoping to reach a compromise with the Trust and get his money back.
Joining the victims in the protest were groups such as Samata Sainik Samiti from Hassan and Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (Ambedkar vada). The activists alleged that the Trust Chairman Santhosh Kumar S. threatened them.
While the activists camped in protest in front of the institute, the police who arrived on the scene searched for the Chairman, who was not found.
More than 100 students train for the army in the centre – with some of them saying that they were not guaranteed a job and had only paid for the training.
At the time of going to press, a police complaint was not filed.