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Shutdown over paper leak case affects normal life in Arunachal

Itanagar, Feb 18 (IANS) Normal life was affected on Saturday in the Arunachal Pradesh capital region comprising Itanagar and adjoining areas after a 12-hour shutdown was called by the Pan Arunachal Joint Steering Committee (PAJSC), seeking fulfilment of the 13-point demands related to the alleged leak of the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) question paper.

Protests were staged against the leakage of question papers before the written examination for recruitment to the post of Assistant Engineer (Civil) conducted by the APPSC on August 26 and 27 last year.

On Friday, the PAJSC had observed a ‘mass movement’ in the capital region comprising — Itanagar, Naharlagun, Nirjuli and Banderdewa.

Due to the protest, business establishments, markets, banks, educational institutions, government and private offices remained closed, the police said

Thousands of protesters had blocked the National Highway-415 and burnt vehicle tyres.

The Arunachal Pradesh government on Friday suspended Internet services in the capital region till Sunday evening (5 p.m.)

Officials said that on the direction of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, the oath taking ceremony of new APPSC chairman and members, scheduled on Friday, has been postponed.

According to officials, the Chief Minister on Saturday called the PAJSC leaders to meet him to hold discussions on their demands.

However, the protesters did not accept the Chief Minister’s invitation, saying that they would not meet Khandu until their demands were fulfilled.

The PAJSC demands that all exams conducted by the APPSC of which question papers were allegedly leaked should be cancelled, while seeking immediate arrest of the former Commission chairman, secretary, members and other officers, a court-monitored and Enforcement Directorate probe into the paper leak and dismissal of the state government officials involved with the commission.

It also demanded the recruitment examination be conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, and not the APPSC.

It also sought making the report of the three-member committee on Assistant Engineer (Civil) paper leak case public and compensation of Rs 5 lakh for all candidates.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the APPSC exam paper leak case has recently filed a chargesheet against eight accused before a Special CBI court in Arunachal Pradesh.

The complainant (a candidate) had earlier alleged that an accused (a teacher of a coaching institute) was in possession of questions for the said examination disclosing leakage of paper by him in connivance with unknown officials of APPSC.