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BJP strike hits life in Assam

G Vinayak in Guwahati | February 09, 2005 13:32 IST

A 12-hour bandh sponsored by opposition Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam on Wednesday to protest against 'anomalies' in the recruitment of constables for the Assam police has hit normal life.

No untoward incident had been reported till last reports came in, with security beefed up and patrolling enhanced.

Official sources in Guwahati said shops, educational institutions and banks remained closed. Long distance and city private bus services remained suspended, though a few government buses operated in Guwahati and other parts of the state. Trains and flights, however, operated as per schedule, the sources said.

Attendance in government offices was thin despite government directions to ensure normal functioning. Private offices remained closed.

The ruling Congress has been accused of communal bias in the selection.  Minister of State for Home Rockybul Hussain has come under intense criticism from unsuccessful candidates and political parties.

"The recruitments were politically motivated and were done at the behest of Rocykibul Hussain. Some 40 percent of the selected candidates belong to a particular religious community," said senior BJP leader Rajen Gohain.

The Assam government late last year held interviews for recruiting some 5,500 youths into the police constabulary. Nearly 500,000 candidates had applied.

Last week when the results were announced, Assam witnessed angry street protests, and the unsuccessful candidates and opposition parties joined the agitation. They alleged communal bias in recruitment.

Meanwhile, the Guwahati high court on Tuesday stayed the appointments until the due procedure for selection was followed.

It also directed the authorities to preserve the records of the selection process, which had started two months ago under various police battalion headquarters in the 23 districts of the state.

Meanwhile, Hussain said: "If anyone can prove the allegations that a particular community has got majority of the posts, I shall retire from politics."

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