Hundreds of young unemployed candidates, aspiring for positions as forest guards in Uttarakhand, held a sit-in on 25 February, in front of the state secretariat. They were demanding that the recently held forest guard examinations be scrapped and a fresh one be conducted.
The Uttarakhand Subordinate Selection Service Commission (UKSSSC) has been knee-deep in controversies ever since it announced vacancies for Forest Guards in 2017. Hiccups in the recruitment process, such as raising the age limit for appearing in the exams to holding the physical fitness test before the written one, came one after the other and led to delay in holding the examinations.
Finally, when the examinations were held in February, 2020, allegations of mismanagement and possible instances of cheating arose after one of the candidates uploaded a picture of his OMR sheet on social media.
The protesters have demanded that the exams be conducted anew and all vacancies in the government be filled. They have also raised additional concerns regarding the recruitment process, such as a clear mention of required certificates and recognised institutions along with an annual calendar of examinations to be conducted. A demand for overall clarity in the entire recruitment process has been put forward by the agitators.
Political parties have been quick to join in the growing resentment among the youth. A protest was staged by the Uttarakhand Congress against the irregularities in the Forest Guard examinations, and against the incumbent BJP government, accusing the latter of corruption and being unable to deliver on the promise of jobs.