MeraNews Network, Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government were left red-faced after the exam paper for the recruitment of Lok Rakshak Dal jawans got leaked about an hour before the examination on Sunday afternoon. As a result, the authorities called off the exam at the last moment and postponed it by a month, leaving about 8.7 lakh candidates across 2440 centres, most of them who had travelled hundreds of kilometres from their hometowns, dejected and fuming.

The answer key for the paper was leaked on social media platforms like instant messenger application WhatsApp about an hour before the written tests were to commence. The news of leak and postponement of the tests triggered protests and sloganeering by the aspirants outside their examination centres. Cops had to resort to lathi-charge on a group of students who got into a ruckus with the authorities outside LDRP College in Gandhinagar.

8,76,356 candidates were to appear at 2,440 centres for written examinations for 9,713 posts of LRD jawans in 29 districts of Gujarat. Additional DGP Vikas Sahay, the chairman of the recruitment board said that it is unfortunate that the paper got leaked despite strict precautionary measures like CCTV surveillance and police bandobast taken by the board. He added that the decision to postpone the exams was taken after the answers in the leaked key matched to most of the answers to the test paper. But by the time the announcement was made, most of the candidates had checked into their respective exam centres and were waiting for the test to begin. The state government has announced that it would bear the transportation cost of the candidates when they appear for the exam on the newly announced dates.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani ordered a thorough investigation into the matter. The Police recruitment board has lodged an FIR at the Sector-7 police station in Gandhinagar and the investigations will be handled by Gandhinagar Police, Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad, Ahmedabad Crime Branch and the Cyber Cell. As of late Sunday evening, the police had arrested two persons including a female police constable believed to be involved in the leak.

Chaos had ensued outside examination centres with many candidates not ready to believe that the leak had occurred. The aspirants had come from far off villages and hamlets of Gujarat and neighbouring states, travelling in overcrowded state transport buses, atop trucks and trains. Thousands of armed cops were stationed outside these centres fearing a violent backlash from the candidates and damage to public property over the leaks.

Former Gujarat chief minister and veteran politician Shankersinh Vaghela said that the BJP holds mastery in leaks of examination papers for government recruitments. Calling this leak a cruel joke on the candidates and their families, most of them who are poor, Vaghela demanded that the government deposit Rs 10,000 as compensation into the Jan Dhan accounts of these candidates and that the unemployed youth of the state be given Rs 5,000 each month.