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Rail protests: 8 students held in Patna, coaching centre owners named in FIR

The owners of the coaching centres have been accused primarily of allegedly instigating the students to stage the protests. The charges against the students and tutors include those under IPC section 120B (criminal conspiracy) and others related to rioting and assaulting officials. None of the tutors has been arrested.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna |
Updated: January 28, 2022 7:39:24 am
A train burns after the aspirants set it on fire during their protest over alleged erroneous results of Railway Recruitment Boards-Non Technical Popular Categories (RRB-NTPC) exams, at Gaya Junction railway station, Wednesday, January 26, 2022. (PTI)

The police in Patna have arrested eight people identified as students and named the owners of six coaching centres in an FIR for their alleged role in the protests that turned violent over the past few days linked to the Railways’ recruitment drive.

The owners of the coaching centres have been accused primarily of allegedly instigating the students to stage the protests. The charges against the students and tutors include those under IPC section 120B (criminal conspiracy) and others related to rioting and assaulting officials. None of the tutors has been arrested.

The tutors have denied the allegations and claimed that the protests were “spontaenous” after several students who expected to qualify in the recruitment drive for Non Technical Popular Categories (NTPC), failed to get through.

The arrests drew criticism from the Opposition and even ruling NDA constituent Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM). Morcha head and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi cautioned the police against taking action against tutors as it could “further provoke protests and violence”. “The government should rather look for ways to deal with the mammoth unemployment,” Manjhi said.

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Main Opposition RJD’s spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari said: “The students’ protests showed the failure of the Central government and is a testimony to rising unemployment in the country.”

The eight students who have been arrested are among 16 named in the FIR: Kisan Kumar (Giridih, Jharkhand), Rohit Kumar, Rajan Kumar and Vikram Kunar (Lakhisarai, Bihar), Naresh, Ganesh, Vikas, Khesari, Mrityunjay, Baleshwar, Pankaj, Vishal, Suraj, Majnu, Vikas Chhotu and Mukesh (Patna). Police said all of them are aged between 21 and 25 years but could not confirm whether they were students of the six coaching centres.

The tutors who have been named in the FIR registered at Patranagar station are: Khan Sir, S K Jha, Navin, Amarnath, Gagan Pratap and Gopal Verma. Of them, Faisal Khan, better known as Khan Sir, also runs a popular coaching channel on YouTube.

According to the FIR, four of the arrested students told the police that they had “watched a video of Khan Sir on social media in which he had said if RRB (Railway Recruitment Board) results were not revised, they (coaching centres) would get students to protest.”

The FIR also said that various statements of students on social media suggested that “several coaching centres had been upset at not getting the desired results for their students in RRB NTPC results”.

The FIR said that about 400 students were provoked to create law and order problems at the Rajendra Nagar Railway Station of Patna on January 24 due to which trains between Ara and Patna were stalled for close to five hours. The incident sparked protests across 12 districts over the next two days.

Speaking to reporters, Faisal Khan, who hails from UP’s Gorakhpur and runs GS Research Centre in the Old Patna area, denied the charges.

“We can never back students who take to violent protests. Whatever happened was a natural reaction. During the time of filling up forms for Group D examinations, the students were not told that there would be two examinations. Second, RRB followed a new post-students ratio instead of the previous system. Coaching centres cannot influence 1.25 crore examinees across the country,” he said.

Patna SSP Manavjit Singh Dhillon told The Indian Express: “We have booked six coaching centre owners/ tutors for provoking students.”

Patna DM Chandrashekhar Singh met the coaching centre owners and said later that the police would study all social media videos and posts by the teachers.

Several localities in Old Patna — Ashok Rajpath, Naya Tola, Chak Musallahpur, Bhikna Pahadi, Kankarbagh and Rajendra Nagar — are traditional coaching hubs for various competitive examinations. According to unofficial estimates, there are about 100 coaching centres in this area, which are attended by thousands of students from various parts of Bihar.

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