Hundreds of UPSC aspirants were detained for protesting outside Parliament and the Rail Bhawan, a day after they clashed with police in Mukherjee Nagar, North Delhi. The protesters have been demanding the scrapping of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), which they allege discriminates against students from the regional language background.
“Even in the main examination, the question paper should not be in English, but in an Indian language,” Nayeem Alam, an aspirant, said.
At least 300 protesters were detained by police and taken to police stations in the New Delhi district. Police have imposed Section 144 in the area. Around 10 am, protesters tried to march towards Parliament House. They were stopped at the barricades near the Rail Bhawan. Many more protesters who were on their way to Parliament were detained outside the Central Secretariat Metro station.
Two Metro stations — Central Secretariat, Udhyog Bhawan — were closed for over an hour.
DCP (New Delhi) S B S Tyagi said over 300 protesters were detained.
A UPSC aspirant reportedly tried to self immolate at the protest venue near Batra Cinemas in Mukherjee Nagar. He was stopped by police and other protesters. Aspirants at the venue claimed that a Delhi MP had visited them 10 days ago and assured that the BJP government will take care of the students’ interests, but nothing was done.
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As protests escalated, political parties also jumped into fray, criticising the government for not paying heed to students’ demands. The AAP said, “Shocking visuals and photographs showing police brutality on students already deceived despite categorical assurances from a union minister and an MP from Delhi on behalf of none other than the Prime Minister, show utter insensitivity on part of the Central government.”
The BJP Delhi Unit wrote to the Delhi Police Commissioner, asking police to show restraint while dealing with protesters. “We express deep anguish over police handling of this case… it would be appreciated that instead of using force as the first resort, officers of the Delhi Police work towards counselling and pacifying agitators,” the BJP’s Delhi unit secretary’s letter said.
Samajwadi Party MP Dharmendra Yadav also met the detained protesters at the Parliament Street station. Yadav later told reporters, “I have told the students that I will raise their issue in Parliament. Their demands are not unjustified so I am here to support them.”
Police said 20 persons have been arrested for Thursday’s violence. “We have registered a case under sections of rioting against them,” DCP (North) Madhur Verma said.