Jignasha Patel, 25, a computer engineer from Gandhinagar, doesn’t feel motivated anymore to appear for her upcoming entrance examination for the post of Deputy Section Officer scheduled next Sunday. The alleged paper leak in the entrance examination of non-secretariat clerk and office assistant has left her heartbroken. Demanding cancellation of the recruitment examination for the two posts held on November 17, Jignasha is one of the 100-odd job aspirants who continue to camp at Central Vista near Mahatma Mandir here in the protest which entered day three. Among the protesters are qualified candidates like her, who could have been in private jobs but preferred to opt for a government job instead.
“I am here to protest. We want this examination to be cancelled. When the paper is leaked where is the merit in selection? I have an exam next Sunday for the recruitment of Deputy Sections Officer, but I do not feel like reading for it. If papers are leaked like this, what motivation one can have to prepare?” said Jignasha.
She is upset that the government in its cabinet meeting this week decided to put on hold the compulsory helmet rule, but did not do the same for the controversial exam. “Helmet rule is something that the government should make compulsory for people; instead they should be cancelling this exam,” she added while expressing disappointment with the state government which has so far refuted allegations of paper leak.
The state government has announced a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the allegation and will withhold the results till it submits its report.
In search of security and self-dependence, Jignasha has been devoting her full time preparing for the government jobs for some time now. She took to the roads on Wednesday along with hundreds of students.
Jignasha has refused to leave the ground even after the leader of the job aspirants, Yuvrajsinh Jadeja, accepted the formation of SIT to probe into various allegations related to the exam Thursday. A number of students who protested at the site along with Jadeja on Thursday left the place in disappointment.
Congress leaders Amit Chavda, Paresh Dhanani, Hardik Patel and Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani also joined the protesters in solidarity on Thursday night. Congress leaders and workers have also sat with the students in protest.
From Thursday’s slogans of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and Vande Mataram that dominated the atmosphere at the protesting camp, Friday saw a marked difference with the Azadi slogan being chanted like ‘Gujarat kya Mange, Azadi’, ‘Tu Kya Mange, Azadi’, ‘Jaan Se Pyari, Azadi’, ‘Chheen ke Lenge, Azadi’ along with ‘Inquilab Zindabad’.
Jagruti Katara (25) from Visnagar in Mehsana district has been under pressure from her family to get a government job and thus took the exam on November 17. The exam which was to be held in October, was postponed for unknown reasons. Nearly six lakh candidates took the exams.
“I have a family with parents and two younger brothers. I have been preparing for government jobs for some years now. But all the time, we hear about some irregularities or other with exams including paper leak. And I have been genuinely preparing hard for it while also attending coaching classes. Now, if the question paper has been leaked, how can I expect my selection?” Jagruti said while adding that she was really hoping to get a government job this time.
Jagruti said that she spent Thursday night at the home of a friend in Gandhinagar before coming to protest Friday morning.
Vanrajsinh Zala, a civil engineer from Talod in Sabarkantha district, was also quite hopeful of getting the job this time.
“This exam was very important to me. And with the marks that I was hoping to get, I could have got a good posting on merit. But with the (alleged) paper leak, my marks do not stand anywhere. How can I compete with a student who could have got the leaked paper (and better marks). We do not accept this SIT and we only want this exam to be cancelled,” said Vanrajsinh.
Son of a policeman, Nitin Solanki, 28, said, “I have a wife and a three-year-old son. My father is in police force. Though there is no apparent pressure on me for a job, but you can understand the kind of pressure I must be feeling on myself to get a job and earn for my family.”
“Earlier, I had taken recruitment examination for Lok Rakshak Dal and High Court Peon. But, I did not prepare for it seriously. This time, I had undergone coaching for one full year and spent Rs 25,000. And then, we hear about paper leak and other irregularities. It is very disheartening. If the exam is not cancelled, it will be like injustice to those who did genuine hard work.”
Nitin is protesting since Wednesday and has been spending night at a friend’s place in Ahmedabad.
Unlike Nitin, Anil Mali (19) from Tharad of Banaskantha district appeared for a government job for the first time. “I am the only son of my parents who have toiled hard on farms to educate me. I want to get a government job at the earliest so that I can help my parents. I worked hard for the examination. But, the developments have ruined my planning. When paper is leaked, I feel my chances are gone to get a job. I want this exam to be cancelled.”
Anil lives in Gandhinagar at a hostel to prepare for the examination.
All these candidates believed that the decision of their leader, Yuvrajsinh Jadeja, to accept formation of an SIT to probe into allegations of paper leak must have been under some pressure. They said that whatever could be the reason for Jadeja to wind up the agitation, they will continue to stage protest at the site.
Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda and legislature party leader Paresh Dhanani joined the protesters on Thursday night after a sizeable chunk of them left the place following declaration of an SIT to probe into various aspects of the examination and Jadeja accepting the same. Both the leaders spent the entire night with the protesters, even as other Congress leaders and workers also joined them. Dhanani personally oversaw food preparation for the students at the site.
Mevani and Congress leader Hardik Patel also joined the students late in the night.