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2 killed in army job rally crush

Two Punjab village youth aspiring to join the Indian Army died in a stampede at the entrance of the recruitment camp at Khasa in Amritsar, reports Aseem Bassi.

india Updated: Dec 02, 2008 01:37 IST
Aseem Bassi

Two Punjab village youth aspiring to join the Indian Army died in a stampede at the entrance of the recruitment camp at Khasa in Amritsar early Monday morning.

As soon as the gates of the recruitment centre opened, hundreds jostled with one another to rush in. In the mele, two youth, Harjinder Singh of village Buttar and Ranjodh Singh of village Kaler in district Tarn Taran, stumbled and fell into a pit near the gate and others trampled over them.

The two were rushed to a local hospital, but were declared brought dead by hospital authorities. According to eyewitnesses, some candidate suffered minor cuts and bruises.

Although the recruitment process started later, chaotic scenes were witnessed at the gate. Shoes and other belongings lay strewn around. A pole was found damaged and part of the fencing was uprooted.

The incident, immediately, turned into a blame game with the civic administration questioning the methodology used by the Army for its recruitment drive.

Amritsar deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu commented that “the procedure used by the Army during recruitment drive is very old. The candidates came here since last night and spent the night on the roads. And then we expect them to give fitness tests. This is really bad. And I will write to the government to set up a new system where candidates don't have to go through all this.”

Army officials took serious objection to this comment and said that there was nothing wrong with the recruitment process. Col KK Kiren, who was overseeing the entire recruitment drive, said, “It was just because the candidates wanted to move in fast and it resulted in chaos. The system we use is used all over India since long. We will also try how we can help the families of the deceased.”