It’s Now or Never, Kargil!

After much speculation the ‘improbable’ list of General Line Teacher selection in Kargil has been declaredby the District Subordinate Service Recruitment Board (DSSRB) Kargil on January 14, 2016. It put in dizzy almost the entire population who were under the impression that the list will never see the light of day owing to all the unfair means witnessed during the examination like, mass copying, use of mobile phones, group discussion, moving from one place to another and so on which took place during the examination in public guise.

Teacher Exam 1
Applicants can see sitting for the Exam at Khri Sultan Cho Stadium at Byamathang Kargil

To cut a long story short, the screening test was attended by 7000 applicants (combined both morning and afternoon shift) in a mega sitting arrangement typical to that of a community “mela” or fair with no proper sitting arrangement to sit and no temporary shelter to protect the sunlight, and with the absence of drinking water and sanitation facilities. Moreover, the candidates were asked to sit straight in a line alongside a rope and instructed to keep a seven feet gap between each other which was literally measured by a measuring tape,with no other signs of demarcation to mark out the rows or seating place resulting in a fury and noise among the candidates. To add to that only 23 supervisors and equal number of assistant supervisors were there to supervise more than 4000 candidates at a time. Despite all this the examination went on which was proof enough to doubt at the sanctity of the examination.

To put the record straight here, immediately after the test on the same day, the Youth Action Committee Kargil rallied strong protest against the administration terming the screening testas highly ‘unacceptable’ and ‘objectionable’ and blamed the administration for miserably failing in conducting a “free and fair” screening test while demanded for its cancellation and re-examination in such a way that would do justice to all the candidates equally. The candidates consistently continued their protest until a week. Several Kargil Students’ Unions wrote letters to the authorities expressing their dissent with the way in which the screening test was conducted. But the response from the authorities was lukewarm.

Despite all this the Deputy Commissioner Kargil, also the chairman of DSSRB,while pretending to be ignorant termed the entire episode of selection process as“completely transparent and fair”. Although in an interview at All India Radio Kargil he reportedly said that “some disgruntled elements were found indulged in mass copying but the administration will take care of them”. This confession andthe examination taking place in an unjustly manner in full day light at Khree Sultan Choo Sports Stadium, Beamathang was somethingwhich nobody can shy away from.

Even after the selection list came out, apart from the above facts, the allegation of nepotism and favoritism start ushering from across the board with some reasonable facts to support their claims. Some of them being, for instance, siblings scoring equal number of high marks in written examination who happen to sit alongside each other during the examination and the highest probability of selected candidates were those who were in same line either next to or parallel to each other.The question papers were neither signed by the invigilator nor did it have any official stamp. Also few candidates have applied in reserved categories more than one and so on.

However, in the entire episode the scariest part is the silence of the people, both the candidates who appeared and the general public, which makes them equally responsible in this crime.Apparently some ofthe candidates who were found shouting slogans soon after the examination about the “unfair” examination are now dead silent only because the person him/herself got selected or a relative or friend is selected. This hypocrisy is saddening to say the least. Much more depressing and upsetting is the general attitude of the people who carry the same old traditional attitude that ‘nothing is going to happen’. Although most of them believe that everything went wrong in the selection process but they don’t want to raise a voice or resist against this kind of injustice.

The only positive light is coming from a group of young people lately. A group named Youth Action Committee (YAC) wrote to the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to intervene in the matter. Following that the All India Kargil Students’ Union (AIKSU) with the support of Kargil Students Union in Jammu, Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar and Zanskar Union, in a letter circulated on social media, has decided to “challenge the case in the Court of law through a writ petition”. The students ’ unions are reportedly appealing the Court to hold an inquiry in the whole matter and take a decision which is suited in the best interest of the candidates. This is a welcome step at least against the administration and the rulers which has the attitude of getting away with everything and anything which they feel like. It is hoped thatall the progressive forces in and outside the district would come together and fight against this kind of injustice to seek justice and prevent such things from happening again in future.

This is the time to challenge the thugs of power. The question really is what are we waiting for? Who are we afraid of?Remember Kargil, it’s now or never.

Written by a Kargili student at Delhi.

The author provided the article to Ladakh Express with the condition of anonymity. Ladakh Express is not responsible for the views of the writer.