NEW DELHI: Nearly 3,000 SSC (Staff Selection Commission) aspirants took to the streets, demanding a CBI probe into the alleged SSC paper leak and some of them clashed with the police in Lutyens' Delhi today.
Demanding a Supreme Court-monitored probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the matter, hundreds of SSC aspirants staged a protest at Jantar Mantar and accused the government of failing to prevent the alleged paper leak.
Some of the protesters tried to march towards Connaught Place (CP), but were stopped and detained by the police.
They were later released.
In a statement, a committee of the SSC aspirants claimed that the group marching towards CP were lathi-charged and manhandled by the Delhi Police.
The police, however, denied using force, and said the protesters were dealt with "restraint" and in a "professional" manner.
Some students also sustained injuries and some even fainted in the commotion, the committee said condemning the incident.
"We held a gathering of thousands of students at Sansad Marg to protest the SSC scam.
We have been demanding an independent and time-bound CBI probe into the conduct of all SSC examinations.
"Even after protesting for over a month, the government has not agreed to our genuine demands," the statement read.
If the government cannot hear out the demands of the protesting students, the minister of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) should resign, it said.
The statement said that until the demands of the SSC aspirants are met, the movement will continue.
The aspirants, apart from a CBI probe, are also demanding the formation of an expert committee to take suggestions from students for systemic reforms in the SSC.
They claimed that they will approach the Supreme Court in the matter to ensure reforms in the functioning of the Commission.
The aspirants are also planning to start an "anti-corruption helpline" for students affected due to irregularities and corruption in government jobs that is likely operational from April 14.
They also said that they would take the movement to various cities of the country to raise awareness and campaign against the government.
The aspirants also claimed that some "anti-social elements unsuccessfully tried to hijack" the protests.
Joint Commissioner of Police, New Delhi range, Ajay Chaudhary, said an organisation called Swaraj India had applied for permission to stage a peaceful protest at Parliament Street on March 31.
"They had a series of meetings with the New Delhi district police and they were constantly advised to go to Ramlila Maidan, as protests have been banned by the NGT at Jantar Mantar.
However, they insisted and organised the protest," he said.
The officer said today, when the crowd swelled, the leadership abdicated their responsibility and was nowhere to be seen.
"It became a leaderless protest. A breakaway group of around 200-300 people rushed to Connaught Place. With great effort and alacrity and alertness, the New Delhi district police responded and stopped them on Janpath. As many as 207 people have been detained," he added.
Chaudhary said legal action is being initiated against those who tried to disrupt law and order.
Though aspirants claimed they were manhandled and lathi-charged by the police, the officer said they (police) did not use any force.
"No force has been used. They were stopped from going towards Connaught Place using barricades."
"Police has shown tremendous restraint. It is an example of professional policing," said Chaudhary.
The students were "physically" held and taken to buses and detained, another officer said.
The 207 SSC aspirants who were detained at the Mandir Marg and Tilak Marg police stations were later released, police said.
The police said that a case under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions, punishable with a term of maximum three months and fine), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty, punishable with a maximum term of two years and fine) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, punishable with a maximum term of six months and fine) was registered against unidentified persons.
Nearly 3,000 SSC aspirants had gathered for the protest, a police officer said.
Traffic in the Connaught Place's Outer Circle was affected for over an hour due to the incident.