Agnipath protest: Trail of fiery slogans, blockades and arson blazes through 7 states
Agnipath program: On Thursday, a trail of ferocious protests against the Centre’s Agnipath program to enlist young people in the military for an initial four-year period spread across states, with Bihar reporting the second day of blockades and arson attacks on BJP offices in addition to attacks on BJP offices. Other states taking part in the chaos included parts of UP, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Bengal.
The Wednesday agitation that began in the Bihar districts of Buxar, Begusarai, and Muzaffarpur quickly spread to the other 17 districts of the state, disrupting rail and road traffic. The Patna-Gaya and Patna-Buxar train routes were blocked by protesters, many of whom appeared to be young job seekers, while highway traffic in Begusarai and Jehanabad was slowed down.
In Nawada, a BJP office was set on fire, and party MLA Aruna Devi’s car was assaulted. The home of party lawmaker Dr. C. N. Gupta in Chhapra, Saran, was vandalized. In Madhubani, the second set of demonstrators trashed a BJP office. At least three train bogies were set on fire in Bhabhua, Chhapra, and Gopalganj. Another 12 trains’ windows were broken by stone-throwers in other neighborhoods.
At Bhabua railway station, two hours of nonstop stone-throwing resulted in the injuries of two police officers, including a SI, and a train passenger. We spent years training to join the military just to learn that the promised duration of employment is only four years. We wish to bring back the previous hiring procedure.
After serving for four years, what will we do? Rakesh Kumar, an Alouli villager demonstrating at Khagaria railway station, said that the government had stated that just 25% of the hired individuals would remain for a further 15 years under permanent commission.
Those engaging in vandalism and destroying government property will be identified and punished, according to ADG (law and order) Sanjay Singh. He predicted that these job seekers may have a “sad future” in terms of finding employment.
After demonstrators attacked police in Palwal, Haryana, with stones and set their vehicles on fire, prompting a baton charge, the city’s internet and texting services were banned for 24 hours, and Section 144 was enacted. At least 14 demonstrators were taken into custody. According to SP Mukesh Malhotra, “We are reviewing recordings posted on social media and CCTV cameras to identify those who engaged in violence.
To investigate the violence, two specialized investigative teams were established. Near Raipura Jat hamlet in Mathura, protestors stopped the Agra-Delhi highway from both sides, stranding hundreds of passengers and cars there for about two hours. Stones were thrown at a state-run bus going by Bah in Agra. Following their almost hour-long blockade of the city’s MG Road, the police baton-charged demonstrators and arrested a number of them.
The Delhi-Gabhana route was invaded by youngsters carrying sticks in Aligarh. In the morning, protesters also blocked traffic in the Khurja area of the Bulandshahr and Meerut districts.
Protesters stopped the Pathankot-Mandi highway in Gagaal town in the Kangra district hours before PM Narendra Modi’s roadshow in HP’s Dharamshala. The gathering shouted anti-PM chants and tore up posters of BJP officials for several hours during the uproar. After a brief altercation with the police as the demonstrators marched into Dharamshala, some of them were taken into custody.
Hundreds of young people demonstrated at Gandhi Chowk in Hamirpur under the Youth Congress flag. They set fire to the effigies of Prime Minister Modi and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
Police used force to disperse protesters in Sikar, Bhilwara, and Jodhpur as demonstrations erupted throughout the Congress-controlled region of Rajasthan. Traffic in Jaipur’s Bani Park collectorate area completely stopped as many young men, led by Hanuman Beniwal of the RLP, gathered there.
Beniwal had stated on Wednesday that he was a member of a group that visited with Rajnath Singh, the defense minister, to request that he set up army recruiting rallies. Singh, according to him, promised the delegation a “two-year exemption” in the application of the new hiring regulations.
Near Karni Vihar, protestors in groups obstructed the Ajmer-Delhi route. Protesters gathered in large numbers outside the district collector’s office in Udaipur, shouting anti-government chants and giving the ADM a note. When the demonstrators in Jodhpur were being dispersed, several of them threw stones at the police.
A 100-person protestor group obstructed traffic in Bhatpara and littered the streets with burning tires in Bengal’s North 24-Parganas district. With an irate crowd protesting the new military recruiting strategy, Agnipath, battled with police in many states, resulting in at least one death and several injuries. The plan has been justified by the administration as being “transformative.
As violent demonstrations extended to the southern state of Telangana, one person died and more than 15 others were hurt there. Violent unrest over the new program has been reported in several states, including Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh.
In Bihar, protests over the new recruiting program that has sparked a firestorm led to an attack on the home of the deputy chief minister, Renu Devi, in Bettiah’s West Champaran district. “Such violence poses a serious threat to society. “The demonstrators had to keep in mind that this is a loss for society, “Ms. Devi said to NDTV while she was in Patna. The violence, which started on Wednesday, has primarily affected Bihar.
A crowd broke into the Ballia railway station in Uttar Pradesh this morning, setting a train carriage on fire and causing other station property damage before the authorities used force to drive them out. Outside the train station in the eastern UP region, a different group of protestors with sticks exchanged words with the police.
Since the demonstrations started on Wednesday, almost 200 trains have been impacted—35 have been canceled and 13 have been short-terminated. To recruit personnel for the Army, Navy, and Air Force primarily on a four-year short-term contractual basis, the government introduced Agnipath on Tuesday, calling it a “transformative” program.
The duration of service, the lack of early release pension benefits, and the 17.5 to 21-year age restriction that now disqualifies many of them are among the changes that angry protesters point to.
The opposition has intensified its criticism of the government over the new hiring practices, with Congressman Rahul Gandhi pleading with Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to subject them to an “agnipareeksha” (trial by fire) by forcing them to walk on Agnipath. Akhilesh Yadav, the leader of the Samajwadi Party, referred to the action as “negligent” and perhaps “fatal” for the future of the nation.
As a “one-time waiver” in response to the complaints, the age requirement for Agnipath recruiting has now been raised to 23 from 21. Additionally, the government has provided a 10-point justification for the program and reassured recruits that they won’t be left high and dry after serving their four years in the military.
Young people have been given assurances by top Union Ministers that the new strategy will be very helpful to them. Home Minister Amit Shah stated in a tweet today that the coronavirus epidemic has been affecting Army recruiting for the last two years and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a delicate choice by expressing concern for the nation’s young.
The Army has accepted the government’s decision to provide the one-time waiver, and the recruiting procedure would be revealed soon, according to Army Chief General Manoj Pande. The Chief of Army Staff urged young people to take advantage of the chance to enlist in the Army as “Agniveers.”
1 dead, 8 injured in violent ‘Agnipath’ protests at Secunderabad railway station On platforms 1 and 2, hundreds of agitators, according to the police, attacked the railroad station and destroyed shops and offices with rocks and sticks.
The police opened fire to disperse a rabid mob that had broken out at the Secunderabad train station on Friday in opposition to the Union defense ministry’s new “Agnipath” project, leaving one person dead and eight others gravely injured.
Senior police official: “After lathi charges and tear gas shells failed to subdue the protestors, the general railway police (GRP) personnel were compelled to open fire at the irate throng.”
According to reports, GRP personnel fired about 15 shots to subdue the throng. Additionally hurt during the stone-throwing were two police officers. Sandeep Shandilya, director-general of the railways, and other top officials have arrived and are keeping an eye on the situation.
Along with destroying other railroad facilities, the demonstrators pelted stones at the trains and set a few of their bogies on fire. Even state road transport company buses were vandalized outside the train station by the mob, which prompted the south-central railway officials to immediately suspend all trains coming into the station.
The police said that hundreds of protesters attacked the railroad station and destroyed shops and businesses on platforms 1 and 2 with sticks and stones. They hurled stones at trains that were waiting, causing the passengers to flee for cover. In the event, a few people also suffered injuries.
Later, while the East Coast Express was leaving the station, a few of the protesters’ bogies caught fire. The Ajanta Express and the multi-modal transport system (MMTS) trains’ bogies were also partially set on fire by the intruders.
Even worse, the protesters threw railroad freight onto the rails and lit them on fire. The operation resulted in the full destruction of the rails. The fire at the station and its premises took more than two hours to put out by five fire tenders.
As many demonstrators stayed inside the station and on the rails, the situation remained tense. The police responded to the demonstrators’ stone-throwing by firing rubber bullets and tear gas canisters.
To manage the incident, the Railway Protection Force, Government Railway Police, and city police were all involved.
The area, which resembled a combat zone, was quickly flooded with more soldiers. All of the trains have been canceled by authorities. The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation NSE -5.11 percent (TSRTC) halted bus services in the region after discovering that its vehicles were also being attacked outside the station.
As hundreds of adolescents went on the rampage and set the East Coast Express on fire, violence erupted in this railway station. For their protection, the travelers fled. Numerous bogies were destroyed.
The demonstrators burned down other trains’ bogies, stalls, display boards, and other railroad property while yelling anti-central government chants. Additionally, they lit up the rails after dropping off parcel items there.
The demonstrators asked that the government abandon the recently announced program and maintain the current recruiting process while chanting “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai.”
The government’s decision to cancel the recruitment exam for which the young had been studying for the previous three to four years incensed the youth. They said that they would keep protesting until the Center abandoned the new program.
All Telangana railway stations were put on notice following the widespread violence. At Nampally, Kacheguda, and other Hyderabad railway stations, security was stepped up. As a precaution, forces were also dispatched to the railway stations at Kazipet and Jangaon.