Agnipath Scheme Protest: 3 Trains Set Ablaze In Bihar, Delhi-Jaipur NH Blocked, Stone Pelting In Haryana

Agnipath Scheme Protest: Aspirants are unhappy with the changes introduced under the scheme, particularly the length of service, no pension provisions and the 17.5 to 21-year age restriction that now makes many of them ineligible.

By Talibuddin Khan
Updated: Thu, 16 Jun 2022 06:00 PM IST
Minute Read
Agnipath Scheme Protest: 3 Trains Set Ablaze In Bihar, Delhi-Jaipur NH Blocked, Stone Pelting In Haryana
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New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Angry crowds in India set an office of the BJP on fire, attacked railway infrastructure and blocked roads on Thursday, in widening protests against the newly introduced Agnipath Scheme, a new military recruitment system. The protest today spread to several parts of the country including Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar and Rajasthan.

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the Agnipath recruitment scheme which provides an opportunity for Indian youth to serve in the regular cadre of the Armed Forces for a period of four years. However, several aspirants for the armed forces are unhappy with the changes introduced under the new recruitment scheme, particularly the length of service, no pension provisions for those released early, and the 17.5 to 21-year age restriction that now makes many of them ineligible.

TOP Development from the BIG Story:

- At least three trains were set on fire in Bihar as protests against the Centre's Agnipath recruitment scheme turned violent in the Chhapra, Gopalganj and Kaimur districts on Thursday. Agitations have spilt over to several districts as youths protested by lying down on the railway tracks and blocking roads, demanding the scrapping of the scheme.

- Huge crowds gathered in the Chhapra, Jehanabad, Munger and Nawada areas of Bihar, demanding the withdrawal of the Agnipath scheme. A group of army aspirants protested at Bhabua Road Railway Station and blocked the tracks before setting a train on fire. "We prepared for a long and now they have brought ToD (Tour of Duty) as a four-year job. We want the old recruitment process back," protesters said.

- In Nawada, the vehicle of BJP MLA Aruna Devi, who was on her way to a court, was attacked by the agitators who hurled stones at her car, leaving five persons, including the legislator, injured. Demonstrations staged by the protesters disrupted road traffic in districts such as Jehanabad, Buxar, Katihar, Saran, Bhojpur and Kaimur, where many locals sustained injuries in incidents of stone-pelting.

- Scores of defence job aspirants led by the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) staged protests in several parts of Rajasthan on Thursday against the Centre's Agnipath scheme. Job aspirants and RLP activists took out protest rallies in Jodhpur, Sikar, Jaipur, Nagaur, Ajmer and Jhunjhunu districts. Additional police forces were deployed at these protest centres, a senor police officer said.

- Hundreds of young people took to the streets in Haryana's Gurugram, Rewari and Palwal against the Agnipath scheme with protesters blocking highways. A police vehicle was damaged in stone-pelting in Palwal and the Agra Chowk on National Highway 19 was blocked. In Gurugram's Bilaspur and Sidhrawali, protesters laid a virtual seize on bus stands and roads and held a protest at Bilaspur Chowk, crippling traffic on the Gurugram-Jaipur highway. The police even resorted to aerial firing to warn protesters who were pelting stones at the residence of the District Collector.

- Scores of youngsters in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr and Ballia districts today staged protests against the Agnipath scheme. The protesters, however, dispersed after the officials assured them that their demands will be conveyed to the authorities concerned. According to locals, the protesters gathered in Khurja locality and the city area of Bulandshahr and raised slogans against the central government demanding it to withdraw the scheme. A similar protest was reported from Ballia.

- Varun Gandhi, a BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh, in a letter to defence minister Rajnath Singh today said that 75 per cent of those recruited under the scheme would become unemployed after four years of service. "Every year, this number will increase," Varun Gandhi tweeted.

- Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to listen to the voice of unemployed youths and not take 'agnipareeksha (trial by fire)' of their patience by making them walk on 'Agnipath'."No rank, no pension, no direct recruitment for 2 years, no stable future after four years, no respect shown by the government for the army. Listen to the voice of unemployed youths of the country, don't take 'agnipareeksha' of their patience by making them walk on 'Agnipath', Mr. prime minister," the former Congress chief said.

- No change is being done to the Army's regimental system under the 'Agnipath' scheme and the numbers of personnel to be recruited in the first year of its rollout would only make up three per cent of the armed forces, government sources said on Thursday amid wide-spread protest against the new model in several parts of the country. "No change is being done to the regimental system. Infact it will be further accentuated because the best of 'Agniveers' will be selected, further boosting cohesiveness of the units," said a source.

- Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav also hit out at the central government over the Agnipath scheme, calling the move “negligent” and potentially “fatal” for the country's future. "The security of the country is not a short-term or informal issue; it expects a very serious and long-term policy. The negligent attitude that is being adopted regarding military recruitment will prove to be fatal when it comes to the protection of the future of the country and the youth,” Akhilesh said in a tweet.

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