Amid confusion and chaos during an army recruitment drive, Army allegedly fired in air to disperse job aspirants in Chamkote area of Karna region in frontier district Kupwara on Tuesday when the ‘failed aspirants’ allegedly went on a rampage, setting ablaze the fencing of the Territorial Army arena. Two job aspirants reportedly sustained shell injuries while the incident provoked the hundreds of youth who resorted to violence and attacked Army arena with stones. Besides the two youth, 23 persons including 8 cops and 4 Army personnel were injured during the melee.
Eyewitnesses told CNS that Army organized a recruitment rally to fill up 7 vacancies in Territorial Army. Witnesses added that all but 4,000 job aspirants turned up to appear in physical tests. Trouble according to eyewitnesses started when Army personnel conducting physical tests allowed only Matriculate candidates to appear in the physical test as the number of aspirants were beyond the expectation of the army.
The Middle pass candidates who were reportedly not permitted entry into the arena and were ignored staged protest while some of them resorted to stone-pelting. Reports said that agitated aspirants put the fencing on fire while army personnel resorted to aerial firing to disperse them.
Reports said that during the initial clashes, two youth were injured whom police identified as Arshid Hussain Sheikh son of Muhammad Suliman resident of Kandi Karna and Sajad Ahmed Moghal son of Abdul Qayoom resident of Bagh Baila. “One of the youth received injury in his leg while another in arm and both of them have been shifted to hospital,” a police official said adding that the aerial firing and shelling incident provoked agitated youth and they resorted to massive stone-pelting after wards.
Additional police personnel were rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control. Reports said that police fired tear-smoke shells to disperse the youth. A police official who was on spot said on condition of anonymity that 23 persons including 8 cops and 4 Army personnel were injured during the clashes.
“I am not sure but probably army fired in air to disperse violent job aspirants who were trying to cross the wall to attack the soldiers,” he said. He said that recruitment drive was called off after the violence.
Srinagar based Defense spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel N.N.Joshi said that some aspirants who failed in physical tests started trouble when they set fencing ablaze, pelted stones attaining threatening posture. “The army personnel, sensing danger to life and property, fired few blank rounds which do not cause any injuries. The injuries have been caused by stone pelting,” he added.
The Army spokesperson made it clear that there has no change in the recruitment criteria.
MLA Tangdhar Kafeel-ur-Rehman said that two youth were injured in shelling and both are stable. He said that trouble started because police and army personnel were the job aspirants into the arena who were waiting on the gate in hundreds.