Lucknow: The ordeal of 6,800 candidates from the OBC category continues, as they remain entangled in a seemingly unending battle for justice after the High Court nullified their recruitment list. The candidates, who were initially assured of fair treatment, have grown increasingly disillusioned over the past five months since the court's verdict. Their frustration reached a boiling point as they staged a protest outside the Chief Minister's residence on August 11, accusing the government of lackadaisical pursuit of the case in court.
The aspirants, who had been hopeful of a favourable resolution after the High Court's intervention, now find themselves without recourse. They expressed deep disappointment with the government's casual approach to the legal proceedings. In an attempt to convey their anguish, the candidates converged on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's residence on Kalidas Marg, only to be met by a heavily deployed police force. Despite their peaceful intentions, some protesters sat down on the road, demanding an audience with the Chief Minister.
However, their attempt to meet the Chief Minister was thwarted by the police, resulting in the protesters being taken to Kanshiram Eco Garden. Undeterred, the candidates vowed to escalate their efforts, declaring that they would voice their grievances "From Sadak to Sansad" (from the streets to Parliament).
Leading the movement, Amrendra Patel expressed the candidates' determination, asserting, "Our representation in the legislature is ineffective. We refuse to remain powerless. We have encircled the CM's residence, the Vidhan Sabha, and have spread awareness about the 69,000 teacher recruitment scam across every avenue. This fight is not only for us but for future generations who would suffer from our inaction." Patel told The Mooknayak that the government seeks to deprive them of their rights, but they will persist in their struggle from the streets to the Parliament."
In anticipation of the protest at the Chief Minister's residence, Patel was placed under house arrest, only to be released on the night of August 11.
The roots of the candidates' frustration lie in the alleged mismanagement of 20,000 teacher vacancies during the recruitment process. Raj Bahadur Yadav, a candidate from Prayagraj, revealed, "Under the tenure of Satish Dwivedi as Basic Education Minister, a scandal involving 20,000 vacancies emerged among the recruitment of 69,000 teacher positions. These posts, designated for SC/ST/OBC candidates, were allegedly reassigned to general candidates. Though Dwivedi acknowledged discrepancies and released a revised list in January 2022, legal proceedings led to the list's cancellation, leaving us no choice but to take to the streets in protest."
December 1, 2018: Recruitment of 69,000 teachers announced in the run-up to the 2019 elections.
December 5, 2018: Notification issued for the recruitment of Assistant Teachers.
January 6, 2019: Examination held for the recruitment.
January 7, 2019: A minimum cut-off was announced, which was 65% or 97/150 for General and 60% or 90/150 for SC/ST and the OBC, respectively.
May 12, 2020: Result declared, students protest against the recruitment process as discrepancies observed in the reservation criteria.
July 2020: Candidates approach OBC commission at State and National levels; the commission orders an inquiry.
April 29, 2021: National Commission for Other Backward Caste finds discrepancies in the reservation criteria adopted; CM takes cognizance and orders redressal of grievances.
January 5, 2022: The list of 6,800 candidates released; the then Basic Education Minister Satish Dwivedi accepts discrepancies and promises to issue the joining letter shortly.
February 2022: Code of Conduct comes into effect, hampering the process of recruitment.
March 13, 2023: Lucknow Bench of the High Court cancels the list of 6,800 candidates and orders a review of the recruitment of 69,000 posts. The High Court also contends that there was discrepancy in the recruitment process.
August 11, 2023: The candidates gheraoed the CM residence but fail to meet the Chief Minister as they are arrested and taken to Kanshiram Eco Garden. The Basic Education Minister (Independent Charge) Sandip Singh assures them that the aggrieved candidates would meet the chief minister in few days. The candidates continue their protest at Kanshiram Eco Garden protest site.
It is to be noted that the opposition political parties which claim to be champion of the marginalised sections have failed to raise this issue significantly and therefore the struggle of the candidates has protracted inordinately.
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