Bihar reported multiple blocked national highways and railroads during the state-wide bandh (strike) on January 28, 2022. The strike was called by the All India Students’ Association (AISA) in solidarity with those who had appeared for the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) exams but whose results are as yet unknown and whose future is now in limbo due to sudden changes in rules.
Hundreds of All India Students’ Association (AISA) and Inqilabi Naujawan Sabha (INAUS) students flooded the streets in support of candidates decrying the changes announced by the Railway Recruitment Board. These candidates face charges following a student-police conflict in the state on Republic Day. The government called for an inquiry committee into the matter but students dismissed the same and gathered on the street to voice their demand for employment.
They marched from Maharaja College in Ara district to the bus stop via various routes in the city and jammed the Ara-Patna main road for hours. They marched past the city’s police station, and the protesters also observed a sit-in at the railway station during the day and held a meeting.
While addressing the jam, Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) President and MLA Manoj Manzil said, “The government is constantly cheating the youth. Under the pressure of student-youth movement, the government is giving the pretext of forming an inquiry committee regarding the results of RRB NTPC examination and postponing the Group D examination.”
He warned that the BJP-JDU government will fall short of these assurances as well as guarantee 19 lakh jobs after the conclusion of the Uttar Pradesh elections.
AISA State Secretary Sabir said, “No youth of India wants privatisation and contracting of railways. The government is engaged in privatisation and contracting against public sentiments. Young people will not tolerate this.”
There students listed their demands, which are: release of arrested students, end of oppression by the State, withdrawal of fresh exams for Group-D of the CBT-2 mains exam, revised result for NTPC. Additionally, students demanded withdrawal of recent cases against students and suspension of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
Under the leadership of Communist Party of India – Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML), the Dharhara-Gopali chowk road in Abarpul of Ara was closed for hours. In Darbhanga, protesters stopped the Saptkranti Express with the support of non-BJP-JDU student unions and Opposition parties.
INAUS leaders in Arwal completely blocked the Patna-Aurangabad road at around 8 AM and called for a meeting at Bhagat Singh Chowk. As per reports, students blocked national highways 30, 31, 57 and many others across districts.
A large group of bandh supporters came out in Buxar under the leadership of Dumraon MLA and AISA State President Ajit Kushwaha. He said that the government should withdraw the cases against all the students, otherwise the movement will continue.
In Paliganj, students led by MLA Sandeep Saurabh blocked the Patna-Aurangabad road. He also participated in the Bihar Bandh in Paliganj. He said that while some people opposed the bandh, the call received massive response from students and youths.
INAUS State President Aftab Alam led the bandh in Muzaffarpur where the government threatened teachers and students by phone calls. Still hundreds of students took to the road and disrupted railway operations. In Hilsa, leaders took out a protest march and blocked the Fatuha-Islampur road. NH 57 was also completely jammed in Muzaffarpur, due to which the operation was completely disrupted.
Further jams took place at KB Chowk in Islampur, Madhepura, Khagaria, Siwan, Gaya, Nawada etc.along with a huge march came out in Jehanabad city.
Back in Ara, CPI-ML Central Committee member Raju Yadav said, “This government is running a barbaric campaign on students and youth who are demanding their rights. Today, the youth of the country have come to know the reality of the central government. The Bihar government has also continuously cheated the students and youth. The Modi government actually wants to sell the railways and mortgage it in the hands of Ambani-Adani.”
Solidarity in other regions
AISA students in Delhi also held a solidarity protest at Rail Bhavan, Central Secretariat on Friday. Protesters demanded the resignation of Railway Minister Ashwani Vaishnav, raised slogans in solidarity with Bihar youth and condemned the brutal police repression in UP and Bihar.
Speaking against the corruption in the examination process, AISA JNU Secretary Madhurima Kundu said, “An examination process that has taken almost three years has still come out with discrepancies. Students have all the right to protest for their rightful employment. The Railway Ministry must take immediate action!”
Further, RYA General Secretary Niraj Kumar said, “We demand immediate scrapping of all FIRs filed against protesters. Yogi Adityanath and Nitish Kumar must stop this saga of violence and ensure fulfillment of the demands of protesters.”
The protest ended with the submission of a memorandum to the Chairman of the invested government-appointed committee. The delegation included AISA Working General Secretary Prasenjeet .
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