By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Qualified but unemployed Grade-IV candidates under the banner of the Association of Qualified Grade-IV-2011, East Khasi Hills District, on Tuesday began an indefinite hunger strike at Student’s Field, Jaiaw that continued throughout the night despite the absence of any magistrate or police personnel or doctors.
The hunger strike was called following the non-compliance of the government to appoint all the qualified candidates. Out of the 331 qualified candidates in the merit list, so far only 122 have got appointments while 209 candidates are still awaiting their turn.
“We will continue to demand for our rights and if the government fails to address our concern, we will move ahead but with stringent action,” assistant general secretary of the Association, T Mylliempdah, said.
Earlier, the Grade-IV candidates were denied permission by the district administration to hold the hunger strike. However, the permission was granted in the afternoon following a meeting of some of the candidates with the East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner.
During the meeting, the candidates took up the matter with the Deputy Commissioner, but he turned them down saying that the matter was not in his hands.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goyal said that the permission to hold the strike has been granted and the administration has deputed magistrates and police to ensure that the strike is carried out in a peaceful manner.
He also informed that a medical team has been put on stand-by for any medical emergencies.
However, despite the directions of the DC, no magistrate was seen around the Student’s Field after 9 PM except for the agitators, most of whom were women.
Till late in the evening, the hunger strikers remained steadfast in their resolve to carry on with the democratic protest despite the absence of police personnel at the site, sources said, adding that if the health of the protestors deteriorates, it will take time to shift them to the nearby hospital.