Arunachal: Students, parents hold rally to protest annulment of APPSC exam

Arunachal: Students, parents hold rally to protest annulment of APPSC exam

Thousands of citizens comprising of parents, youths, students, officers came out on the streets of Itanagar and took out a mass peace rally on March 7 against the demand of Null & Void of the examinations conducted by APPSC.

The peace rally was reportedly taken out from Akashdeep to tennis court of Indira Gandhi Park in Itanagar.

Slogans like “We demand Justice, Fair & Speedy Investigation by CBI, No Innocent should be punished, Save the future” were raised by the demonstrators. 

The people taking part in the rally carried placards that read, “Rights are being destroyed by demanding Null & Void, Say No to Null & Void Culture, Investigate then Segregate, We Demand Fast-Track Investigation, Justice ho Justice ho Genuine candidates ka bhi Justice ho”. 

If the Public Service Commission, which is the current authority to make such decisions, accepts this demand of null and void of compromised exams, nearly thousands of officers will lose their jobs and will have to retake the same exams after years of service.

Tana Doji Tara, president of the All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU), addressed the enormous gathering and stated that the AAPSU supports all demands, but it will never support the null and void of any exams, and that innocent people will be punished without their fault. Doji also stated that the APPSC paper leakage was extremely unfortunate, and the AAPSU was the one that compelled the government to bring the CBI in for the investigation. Doji stated, "As a guardian of the state, the AAPSU will care about every citizen, and no one should suffer for the fault of another."

On August 29, 2022, the Arunachal Public Service Commission (APPSC) Assistant Engineer paper leakage was discovered after the police received written information from a candidate for the APPSC AE examination who claimed that he suspected the question paper had been leaked.

Earlier, the police had arrested APPSC deputy secretary-cum-deputy controller of examination Taket Jerang (53), and on September 27, 2022, Arunachal CM Pema khandu recommended that the CBI investigate the recent question paper leakage from the State Civil Service Commission's Engineering exam. Thomas Gaduk, a candidate for the AE exam (26); Akhilesh Yadav, a teacher at Jeju Institute; Tanyang Gaduk, 57, the head assistant and father of Thomas Gaduk; GPS Pangin Tarak; Tama Saroh, a junior teacher (53); and three others, including courier driver Dilip Saha.

Nipo Nabam, the Chairman of the Commission, resigned from his position on October 14, "owning moral responsibility for the omissions and commissions of the officer of the commission." He was in charge of keeping question papers secret and preventing them from being leaked.

The case was handed over to the CBI in the last few days of October after a lot of fuss, and since then, many engineers have been arrested as a result of a joint investigation conducted by CBI officials and the SIC Special investigation team.
After the arrest of more than fifty officers, it was discovered that only a few candidates were permitted to take exams in one Chandni hotel in Itanagar, the capital.

Candidates are now demanding that all exams held by the APPSC since 2014 that were tampered with or in which arrests have been made be null and void, and that exams be held again after terminating all selected officers, whether they are found guilty or not.

In addition to student bodies, legislators in Arunachal Pradesh's legislative assembly are divided on whether or not the APPSC examinations, which were compromised in 2014, should be declared null and void. On February 18, a 12-hour bandh call issued by aspirant candidates and the general public over the APPSC Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission paper leak case goes into effect at dawn. This disrupts the normal life of the capital as thousands of youths take control of the capital city.

Normal life was disrupted in Itanagar as thousands of peaceful protesters waving slogans walked down national highway 52 amid extensive security measures.

Student protesters were seen staging rallies, processions, and waving signs that read, "Save Arunachal," Fulfill our demands," and "Do not play with our future." All government and private offices, schools, shops, and markets were closed.

On February 18, after nine hours of discussion between representatives of the state government and the Pan Arunachal Joint Steering Committee (PAJSC) and others, the government of Arunachal agreed to all 13 demands made by the ten-member team. The primary demand was for all exams that have been found to have been compromised and where CBI and SIC Special Investigation Cell have made arrests null and void.

Since the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission's (APPSC) question paper leak scam was made public, the public of Arunachal students seems divided on the meaning of the phrase "null and void." These two hostile words have become family syllables and a famous expression, in any event, for individuals who have never been to school in their life.
More than 950 officers, inspectors, and circle officers who have been in service since 2014 or later will lose their jobs if this null and void law takes effect. They will also have to take new exams and reapply, which seems impossible on the ground.

These words convey the suffering, resentment, dissatisfaction, feelings, difficulties, and prospects of the two sections: the aspirants, who are represented by the officers affected and the Pan Arunachal Joint Steering Committee (PAJSC).
The government then stated that it had delegated the authority to declare null and void all tainted examinations conducted by the commission to the APPSC.

The decision of "null and void" of examinations was sent to the commission's court by Chief Minister Pema khandu, sowing division among society's populace.

The affected officers, who put their hearts and souls into passing the state's most prestigious competitive exam, are devastated by the government's decision, despite the fact that they are aware that declaring the exams invalid would be difficult and would require a lengthy legal process. Some of them see the government's decision as a betrayal and disrespect for their hardship. On March 7, the affected officers and their families will hold a peaceful protest in Itanagar, the capital.

Both sides must accept the law of the land and be practical and logical in order to ensure that this contentious issue comes to a logical conclusion. The candidates who passed the exam by unfair means should not be protected by the affected officers. In addition, the candidates must accept the CBI investigation's findings.

The investigation into the question paper leak scam may have taken a different turn following the enigmatic passing of former APPSC undersecretary Tumi Gangkak. Even though spring has arrived, it appears that a stormy winter is still looming large over the state capital. When it comes to the null and void issue, the state government is treading water.
The Aapsu All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union has declared a bandh on March 14 if their demands are not met by March 10. Their primary demand is for the null and void to be cancelled.

Also read : Compromised exams divide Arunachal Pradesh: People, MLAs, students at odds over null and void decision