JORHAT, June 1 � The heart of Jorhat town � Barua Chariali � virtually turned into a battle-ground this morning at least for two hours as police fired rubber bullets and tear-gas shells to control thousands of agitating youths, who had come to appear for tests in a pre-recruitment rally in the main stadium of the town.
The incident caused serious injury to a 19-year-old student, while many others received minor injuries.
Following an advertisement by the Director of Employment and Craftsmanship Training, though the youths thronged the Jorhat Stadium early in the morning, they got frustrated due to the absence of the government officials concerned, who were supposed to conduct the interview for selecting them for the training for recruitment as soldiers in the Army and paramilitary forces.
According to the youths, only six persons from a non-governmental organisation (NGO) addressed them in the stadium instead of government officials. Suspecting them to be frauds, some youths started attacking the NGO persons, who fortunately escaped without injuries.
Eye witnesses said that the youths became so violent that they started throwing stones and bricks at the vehicles at Barua Chariali and some other nearby areas in the town, and destroyed traffic police booths, and signboards and other public property.
Though the police initially tried to pacify the youths, they could not do so as the latter continued throwing stones at the police and some other people who had gone for morning walk in the nearby areas.
�Before the police resorted to lathi-charge and firing tear-gas and rubber bullets, some local youths were also allegedly involved in counter-attacks on the violators of law,�said an eyewitness of the incident.
The police said that a 19 year old boy Jintu Saikia was seriously injured as a sharp-edged stone passed through his chest after a tear-gas shell exploded near him. Though he was admitted to the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH), the doctors there referred him to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).
According to doctors at the JMCH, more than 12 youths with minor injuries were provided first aid. Police have arrested 23 youths on the charge of destroying public property and violence, besides registering a case against the NGO persons who were allegedly involved in the fraudulent activities. �Investigation is on. We have registered two cases,�said Jorhat SP Amanjit Kaur.