Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh`s new Samajwadi Party (SP) government on Tuesday faced its first major law and order challenge as police and hundreds of TET (Teachers Eligibility Test) candidates demanding immediate recruitment fought pitched battles outside the Assembly.
Trouble began when the crowd, carrying placards like "hamare umeed ki cycle aap (you are our bicycle of hope - SP`s punchline during the polls)" and shouting anti-SP slogans, started walking towards the Vidhan Sabha and demanded that a senior government functionary talk to them.
They demanded an assurance that there would be an early solution to the TET mess. Pending a probe, announced by the former Mayawati government following charges of large-scale malpractice and favouritism, the selected candidates want the new government to immediately announce their recruitment.
When police officials asked the demonstrators to submit a memorandum and leave, the men and women stuck to their demands following which water cannons were used on the mob. When even that was ineffective, police personnel resorted to canes to disperse the crowd. Eyewitnesses said even the young were brutally hit by the policemen.
As a result, traffic was badly hit on the busy Vidhan Sabha-Railway Station road.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Lucknow Ashutosh Pandey said that no one had been seriously injured and some protesters got minor bruises.
"We tried to pacify the crowd for three hours but they were adamant on surrounding the state assembly building and we were left with no option as the traffic was being jammed and was leading to a situation," said Vijay Bhushan, superintendent of police (East).
TET was conducted by the former Mayawati-led government on November 13, 2011 and was aimed at recruiting teachers for primary and upper primary schools. The test had created a lot of hope among the unemployed yet educated masses in Uttar Pradesh.
Of the 11.53 lakh aspirants who appeared for the test, 2.70 lakh candidates successfully qualified the TET. But charges of corruption came soon after the results were announced on November 26.
After Mayawati ordered a probe, several officials, including Director Basic Education Sanjay Mohan, were arrested and jailed.