Kerala

Move to screen out Agnipath protesters upset many army job aspirants from northern Kerala

The Department of Military Affairs’ move to screen out those who had taken part in the recent series of protests against the Agnipath scheme has come as a shocker for many army job aspirants from northern Kerala. If the rule is strictly implemented by insisting on a police clearance certificate for the same as planned, nearly 500 youngsters who wait for the Common Entrance Exam (CEE) after clearing the physical and medical screening tests are likely to fall at the final hurdle.

Though the police have not zeroed in on anyone subsequent to the announcement, issuing the proposed clearance certificate without verifying the identities of the protestors could land the police in further trouble. According to sources, the identification process itself can surface as a headache as many of the protesters had worn masks.

“What we felt during the protest was that the police were not very keen on capturing our faces as we were part of a very peaceful demonstration with genuine demands. Our plea was to conduct the CEE that was postponed multiple times with the pandemic outbreak,” claimed a youth who was part of the protest here on June 18. He said the fresh move to insist police clearance certificates stating that they were not part of any protest would only screw up the already disheartened youngsters.

Amidst the concerns, many youngsters who were part of such private social media groups in various northern Kerala districts have left the space afraid of future complications. Some of them have also started approaching parliamentarians with a request to stand by them and call upon the Union government to revoke the decision on clearance certificate.  

Meanwhile, police sources confirm that the details of those who took part in the protest will have to be collected if the Army Recruitment Board is firm on its new policy. According to them, many young protesters had backed out from further sit-ins and demonstrations on the street considering the seriousness of the decision formally announced by Lt. General Anil Puri, the Additional Secretary of the Department of Military Affairs, during a press conference in New Delhi on June 19.

The mass protest organised in Kozhikode by about 500 youths was a surprise for many as there were no major political parties or organisations in the leadership role. The participants themselves had revealed that they were part of various WhatsApp groups created for the purpose of planning the protests and sharing updates related to army recruitments with their friends. The majority of the protesters were from Kozhikode and Kannur. 


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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 10:12:52 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/move-to-screen-out-agnipath-protesters-upset-many-army-job-aspirants-from-northern-kerala/article65567644.ece