At least 15 persons, including eight security personnel, were hurt in clashes which broke out today during an army recruitment rally at Tanghdar in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Trouble broke out in Chamkote village of Tanghdar region, close to Line of Control, after a group of aspirants for jobs in a Territorial Army unit started pelting stones at personnel conducting the physical tests, an army spokesman said.
He said the candidates who were rejected in the physical tests resorted to violence and even set ablaze the fencing of the arena where the tests were conducted.
"The army personnel, sensing danger to life and property, fired few blank rounds which do not cause any injuries. The injuries have been caused by stone pelting," he added.
The spokesperson said more than 4,000 candidates had turned up for the "few posts" which were to be filled up at the recruitment rally.
A police official said the agitating candidates alleged that the recruiting officials relaxed the rules to allow middle school pass candidates to appear in the physical test against the criterion of 'Matriculates and above' only.
The official said seven candidates, four policemen and equal number of army jawans were injured in the clashes. "One of the candidates has suffered head injury and may need to be evacuated to a hospital in Srinagar for specialised treatment," he added.
Additional police personnel were rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control.
Condemning the clashes, a Gujjar body demanded an "impartial probe" into the incident.
"We strongly condemn the violence that took place during a recruitment rally at Tangdhar in border area Kupwara. We demand an impartial probe into the whole incident," Bhartiya Gujjar Mahasabha (BGM) state president Eshfaq-ur-Rehman Poswal said in a statement here.
Poswal alleged, "National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) instigated the youths who resorted to violence during Army’s recruitment rally."
"There are some forces in the Valley who do not want that the youth should come in the mainstream and serve the nation," Poswal said adding, "These people mislead the youth for their petty gains and political interests."
He said the recruitment rally was held after a gap of more than 15 years, which is a good initiative by the Indian Army.
He demanded that the recruitment rally be held afresh in the area.