Unruly scenes were witnessed on Wednesday when candidates for the Territorial Army (TA) recruitment rally, being held at the Army TA grounds near Kalagram, created ruckus outside the venue and allegedly harassed passersby including women. Several candidates, who had come for the rally from various parts of Haryana, had gathered on the Shimla-Chandigarh highway outside the venue and were seen loitering, shouting at passing motorists and making lewd remarks on women commuters.
A large number of candidates just sat on the roadside kerb while others were marching up and down the road in large groups passing remarks on passer by, whistling and shouting. Though there was a token presence of police outside the venue, it was not enough to keep the crowd in check or discipline them. Inside the recruitment grounds, the Army personnel deployed had a tough time controlling the unruly crowd. Army jawans could be seen resorting to mild lathi-charge to bring the candidates under control and to avoid a stampede. While the situation within the recruitment venue had some semblance of order, those candidates who had either been rejected in the selection process or were awaiting their turn were solely responsible for the unruly scenes.
The commotion caused by the youngsters triggered traffic jams on the road outside the venue. And with complete absence of any Chandigarh Traffic Police personnel, women commuters were seen having a tough time negotiating their way through the traffic. This was the third and last day of the open recruitment rally for TA and Army officials present on the spot said that nearly 10,000 army aspirants from Haryana had come to participate in it. Many of these candidates reached the city early this morning while others arrived on Tuesday evening and had either stayed the night at the Chandigarh railway station or nearby Gurdwara and temples.
Speaking to Chandigarh Newsline, Major Praveen, an Army officer conducting the recruitment drive, said, “These aspirants are behaving properly within the recruitment grounds. They are thousands in number who have come from different parts of Haryana, and are mostly from rural areas. The Army, with the help of local police, is doing it’s best to control the crowd. We are trying to ensure that the general public does not suffer any inconvenience because of the recruitment rally.”
The Army officer further added that the number of candidates on the final day of the rally was much larger than the previous two days. He said that adequate arrangements for toilets and fresh water for the candidates had been made within the rally venue. “On earlier days, aspirants from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and J&K participated in the rally,” Praveen said.
Inspector Baldev Kumar, SHO of PS Mauli Jagran, said, “About 10 police personnel from my police station were deployed for controlling the candidates. In the morning, as traffic remains high on Madhya Marg, so commuters faced inconveniences. The police personnel were deployed for controlling the law and order situation since early morning. We have not received any complaint of harassment.”