VISAKHAPATNAM:It is the dream of many to land a job in the Armed Forces. But the worst apprehensions of aspirants were proved true as youngsters poured into the venue by the thousands on day one at the Army recruitment rally here Friday, leading to stampede and lathicharge as the police fought to regain control.
Tension prevailed at Indira Priyadarshini Stadium and many aspirants were injured in a stampede when the police resorted to lathicharge in a bid to control the crowds which led to many candidates receiving grievous head injuries.
The aspirants blamed the police for not making proper arrangements and alleged that the latter could not control the crowd. The police in turn blamed the army officials.
Ugly scenes prevailed at the venue where around 9,000 candidates reached the stadium in the wee hours itself. When a large number of aspirants tried to rush to the counters issuing tokens for the physical test and other initial eligibility tests, a stampede occurred. Several aspirants even jumped the barricades to collect tokens.
The police, who could not control the crowd, resorted to mild lathicharge, leaving many injured. Sources said that more than during the lathicharge, hundreds of aspirants injured themselves by slipping and falling on the road and pushing each other while attempting to escape the lathis.
Irate candidates alleged that even after expecting huge crowds, the police had failed to arrange minimum facilities. The candidates also alleged that the District Rural Development Authority (DRDA) project director Satya Sai Srinivas, who was coordinating the recruitment process, too, took up a lathi and beat up some aspirants.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that the police are not at all satisfied with the arrangements made by the the army officials.
Sources said that the police officials had requested the army officials to arrange at least 20 token counters but only two were set up, leading to the ghastly situation. Moreover, many candidates were seen taking two tokens.
Generally, a candidate who will be given a token for soldier technical cannot be issued another token for soldier general duty. But there were many candidates who took two tokens.
Police said that the army officials failed to mark ink on the candidates who had come for tokens, leading to the chaos.
However, the army officials denied the charges and felt that there were too many aspirants who had come not only from Visakhapatnam, but also from adjacent districts. Moreover, the aspirants did not follow the rules and regulations, the officials said.