Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala witnessed state-wide protests against backdoor appointments of relatives of ministers and party sympathisers to government jobs as the Pinarayi government approaches the end of its tenure.
The appointments, including regularisation of temporary hands, are being done at will even though thousands of rank-holders of state Public Service Commission exams are struggling to get jobs. Some of the appointments are at unduly high salaries.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had alleged the other day that the Pinarayi Vijayan government has appointed 3 lakh people outside the PSC route, all of them the near and dear ones of ministers and party leaders.
He even released a list of relatives appointed to various positions in government and semi-government establishments in gross violation of norms. He said what has been going on in the state during the LDF rule was nothing less than a ‘kumbh mela’ of illegal appointments.
Protests at several places turned violent as police used water canons to control the demonstrators. Opposition UDF leaders are actively involved in the agitation although rank-holders themselves have been staging protests against the arbitrary appointments.
The agitation hit a feverish pitch as news of more irregular appointments emerged from various quarters, including appointments in academic institutions and universities. In one particular instance, the members who sat on the interview board themselves complained of sabotage as they alleged that those who secured the least marks were preferred over eligible candidates.
Dramatic scenes erupted near the state secretariat in which some of the affected rank-holders doused kerosene on themselves and tried to immolate. The police had a tough time averting a tragedy.
Young Congress leader Mathew Kuzhalnadan organised a ‘justice tour’ on Bullet bikes from Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram, and threatened to immobilise the ministers if the government did not extend the validity of the PSC rank lists.