Bareilly: Thousands of aspirants for the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) went berserk here on Tuesday, torching vehicles and damaging shops and fought pitched battles with the police alleging mismanagement in the force's recruitment drive, an official said.
Angry over the arrangements made by the ITBP for recruitment of Grade IV posts, candidates who had converged here from 11 states targeted bus stations, railway tracks, petrol pumps and other public property.
At least six state-owned buses and several other vehicles were set on fire and several shops were damaged by the protesters along the Badaun-Bareilly route during the violent protests.
The police had to use force in order to disperse the candidates, but Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Prakash D. claimed no one was seriously injured in the incident.
'Violence erupted over the delay in the recruitment process for the Grade IV posts. With around 60,000 aspirants for the posts, the recruitment drive could not start on time and the candidates resorted to violence and arson,' Bareilly's District Magistrate Anil Garg told IANS.
Apart from the candidates, district and police administration too blamed ITBP for mismanagement in conducting the recruitment drive.
'Of course, they (ITBP) are to be blamed for the mismanagement. ITBP invited candidates from 11 states, including West Bengal, Haryana, Rajasthan at a place without informing the police,' DIG Prakash D. said.
'Controlling the situation really became a challenge for the police as we have been working for the security arrangements related to the just-concluded annual 'Urs' that witnessed around 4 lakh devotees from all parts of the country coming here. ITBP authorities should have consulted the police and the district administration,' he added.
According to officials, the situation could be brought under control in the afternoon only after the candidates were told that they would be again able to participate in the recruitment process by sending their application through post.
Police and district officials were seen making this announcement through loudspeakers in Bareilly, some 250 km from Lucknow.
Even as no official version was given by ITBP, Garg said ITBP has agreed to accept the application forms for the recruitment drive through post too.
'The candidates have been asked to leave for their native places and send their application for the ITBP recruitment through post,' said Garg.
Heavy security arrangements have been made in various parts of Bareilly following the series of violent protests by the candidates.
'Security has been beefed up in several parts of the city. Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and force from different police stations have been deployed around the ITBP centre here,' said a police official.
A candidate from Bihar told reporters: 'As we reached the ITBP centre, the officials at the gates did not allow us to enter and directed us to leave. When we objected, the guards hurled abuses and even tried to manhandle us. It was then that we started the demonstration.'