Chandauli town, 340 km southeast of Lucknow, turned into a veritable battleground for aspiring army jawans and men in uniform on Sunday.
Thousands of youths went on the rampage after three young men sneaked into the 400 m race for selection into the army, triggering fury among others. An unidentified youth was killed in firing as the army and police tried to quell the violence at the army recruitment rally.
Army officials said the firing was resorted to by the police while the district and police officials shrugged off the charge, blaming the army.
Two youths, Kamlesh Yadav and Surrendra Singh said they had narrowly escaped bullets fired by army jawans.
Said Yadav, “Army officials drafted three Gorkha youths into the final 400 m race of the 23rd race. The violence started after youths at the venue became furious on hearing about the irregularity.”
Brigadier SK Thapa, who was heading the recruitment drive denied any irregularity. “The violence started after the army point-men stopped three local youths, who had already failed to clear earlier races on Sunday but were trying to run again in the 23rd race. This sparked violence from others standing outside the venue,” Thapa said.
In Lucknow, Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said, “The coordination between army officers and district administration officers could check the repeat of such incidents.”
Two of six army officials suspected involvement in a recruitment scam in Rajasthan, have confessed to their crime, the Ajmer police said on Sunday.
Irregularities were going on for the past 12 years. The army officers used agents, who charged Rs 1-2 lakh from aspirants. An advance of Rs 15,000-20,000 was charged prior to selection, police sources said.
Candidates who paid were given underwear of a particular colour to wear for the fitness and medical tests. The scam was exposed after a candidate rejected after having paid, lodged a complaint with the police.