Several unemployed youth on Friday took Arrah junction railway station under siege and stalled movement of several trains. Reports said that the protesters even resorted to stone pelting, injuring some policemen and officials. The engine of Patna-Sasaram passenger train also suffered damage due to the stone pelting, reported Prabhat Khabar.
The protests started at around 8 am against lowering of age limit for recruitment in Indian Railways. The Indian Railways has declared more than 80,000 job openings for positions of Group D, additional loco pilot and technicians for 2018. The lowering of the age limit has resulted in lakhs of aspirants not being allowed to apply for the posts.
According to Prabhat Khabar, the youth raised slogans of ‘Pradhan Mantri Murdabad’, and carried placards saying ‘hum pakode nahi bechenge’ (we won’t sell pakodas), in an apparent reference to a statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi wherein he said that those who earn Rs 200 at the end of the day by selling pakodas are also employed.
Train traffic in the area was severely hit as many trains remained stranded for long at stations before Arrah junction.
The statement by Prime Minister has led to war of words between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). While the Congress mocked the statement by PM Modi, the BJP defended it strongly with party president Amit Shah speaking about it in his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha.
Taking a dig at PM Modi over the issue, Rahul Gandhi had taken a ‘pakoda’ break during his tour to Karnataka and the pictures of it were circulated by the Congress party. But defending PM Modi’s statement, Amit Shah had in Rajya Sabha said that selling pakoda was not shameful, and in fact better than unemployment. Hitting out at Chidambaram, Shah had said, "Some people are saying things about selling pakodas. I also read P Chidambaram’s tweet. Yes, I agree that selling pakodas is better than being unemployed.”
"Making and selling pakodas is not shameful, but equating it with begging is certainly shameful," Shah said.