Pro-Kannada activists continue stir over railway recruitment

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Bangalore, Jan 6 (UNI) Pro-Kannada organisations continued their protest against the alleged denial of jobs to Kannadigars in the Railways, even as more than 100 activists were arrested here and in Hubli today.

The stir began since the recruitment process to appoint Group D employees in South Western Railways (SWR) in Bangalore, Mysore and Hubli four days back. The agitation turned violent as the protesters destroyed office equipment at the Cantonment Railway Station premises here when some candidates came to appear for the typing test.

The protesters alleged that the locals were being sidelined and candidates from northern parts of the country, especially those from Bihar, were being given preference in the selection process.

Meanwhile, BJP leader and former Union Minister Sarojini Mahishi expressed concern over the manner of recruitment of Group D employees in the Railways.

Talking to newspersons after participating in the discussions with SWR Zone General Manager Praveen Kumar and pro-Kannada leaders, in Hubli, she said she would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Railways Minister Lalu Prasad to register the protest of the people of Karnataka. She sought an immediate suspension of the ongoing recruitment tests.

Condemning the allotment of special coaches to bring candidates from Bihar for the recruitment process, she alleged that injustice had been done to Kannadigas in Railways recruitment since 1992.

Ms Mahishi regretted that the governments in the state had done little to implement the recommendations of the committee headed by her, constituted to look into the reservation of jobs for locals in all sectors, including the private sector.

''Unfortunately my report has been gathering dust for two decades. The Members of Parliament from Karnataka should raise the issue and force the Centre to heed their demands,'' she added.

UNI MNP-RS KK AS1842

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