Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) activists on Saturday disrupted several Institute of Banking and Personnel Selection (IBPS) examinations for Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in many districts of Karnataka, demanding banking reservation in jobs for Kannadigas.
Kannadiga candidates, who were about to write the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) examination, staged a flash protest at the examination centre IBMR College at Vidyanagar in the city on Saturday demanding that preference be given to Kannadigas in the banking exam as ‘candidates from out of Karnataka are being recruited in the state.
Hundreds of students from Karnataka boycotted the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection-Regional Rural Bank (IBPS RRB) exam and prevented candidates from other states from taking it. A banking aspirant from Hubballi allegedly attempted suicide by slitting his wrist with a blade, police said.
As the situation spun out of control, police chose to a mild lathi-charge to disperse the agitating mob. A protester said the “outsiders” were taking away opportunities from the Kannadigas, while state-level leaders were tight-lipped over the issue. She alleged “outsiders” in Grameen Banks not only ignore Kannada but also impose their language on the Kannada speaking people.
The IBPS exam was scheduled to be held at 8 am. Candidates from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana also came to write the exam in a large number. Kannadiga candidates allegedly prevented the non-Karnataka candidates from entering the examination hall. However, the candidates from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana also staged a counter protest demanding that they are allowed to write the exam.
Hubballi-Dharwad police commissioner M N Nagaraj visited the spot and tried to pacify the candidates but in vain. The police ensured that the second paper exam is conducted at 10.15 am. Some protesting candidates also wrote the exam. Meanwhile, the protest took a violent turn as some candidates pelted stones at the college. The police resorted to lathi charge. The protest continued till 2.45 am.
Similar protests were also reported from Ballari, Mandya, Kolar, Raichur, Davanagere and other districts. KRV president TA Narayanagowda told BM, “Our activists have staged protests in about 14 districts, opposing the government’s move to allow candidates from other states to write examinations for local banks.”
“If banks recruited candidates unfamiliar with the Kannada language, how will they communicate with locals. Hence, we want the government to revert to the old examination system to help Kannadigas to get job opportunities,” urged TA Narayanagowda.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh chief secretary Dinesh Kumar discussed the issue with his Karnataka counterpart and requested that necessary arrangements be made to ensure the safety of Telugu candidates.
AP CM N Chandrababu Naidu and his deputy N China Rajappa reviewed the situation. Rajappa in a statement said the attack on Telugu candidates was unfortunate. “We are taking up the issue with the Karnataka and central governments to ensure such attacks do not recur. We will also request the Centre to open examination centres in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada,” he said.
Karnataka Development Authority (KDA) president recently urged Siddaramaiah to give priority to Kannadigas in banking tests. Until 2014, candidates who studied in Kannada medium up to Class X used to get jobs in local banks. Once the task of conducting banking examination was entrusted to IBPS agency, things changed and opportunities for locals dried up.
The police commissioner said that the IBPS has been approached to seek another chance for those who could not write the exam and wait for their reply. The candidates must log on to IBPS websites. He clarified that no candidate is arrested.