Despite new pledges and concessions from the government, over 350 trains were cancelled across India today as violence by armed forces aspirants spiraled.
Patna: Bihar’s train services have been suspended till 8 p.m. today, and will resume at 4 a.m. tomorrow until 8 p.m., according to authorities, as the state continues to be wracked by violence over the ‘Agnipath’ military recruitment plan.
As protestors attempted to impose a bandh asking for a rollback of the new system for armed forces recruiting, a train station and a police car were set on fire, and many law enforcement officers were injured by stone-throwing.
Despite new pledges and concessions from the government, over 350 trains were cancelled across India today as fatal violence by armed forces aspirants dissatisfied with the new programme continued in various areas.
After their four-year term, the Home and Defense Ministries guaranteed new 10% job quotas for ‘Agnipath’ recruits. Agniveers will also be inducted, according to the Ministry of Shipping.
In Uttar Pradesh, police arrested 250 individuals and filed 400 criminal complaints in response to the violence that erupted after the programme was announced on Tuesday. The state’s railway police have charged 150 more people.
In Kerala, hundreds of young men took out huge protest rallies in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, demanding immediate exams for army recruitment. In Karnataka, the police used sticks to disperse protesters as they attempted to take out a march in Dharwad.
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao of Telangana expressed shock and sorrow over the death of a 24-year-old man who died on Friday when security officers opened fire on agitators at the Secunderabad railway station. Mr Rao promised a compensation package worth Rs. 25 lakh for his family, as well as a government job for an eligible relative.
Train services in Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district were halted for around an hour when a group of agitators stopped railway tracks and protested by doing push-ups.
Protesters set fire to a vehicle outside the Mahendergarh railway station in Haryana, while a gang of about 50 agitators invaded the Ludhiana railway station in Punjab, causing property damage. Hundreds of young men demonstrated throughout Rajasthan, including Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Jhunjhunu, and momentarily stopped the Jaipur-Delhi Highway in Alwar.
The opposition kept up the pressure on the government, with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who is in hospital with Covid difficulties, describing the Agnipath initiative as “directionless” and vowing that her party would try to have it scrapped.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh defended the initiative at a meeting with top military officers, saying it was revealed after extensive talks, including with ex-servicemen, and that the demonstrations were caused by a misunderstanding circulated for political purposes.