Agnipath protests: One dead in Secunderabad, five trains set ablaze in three states
The Bihar government suspended internet services in twelve districts for two days to bring the violence under control.
One person died and several others were injured on Friday after the police opened fire at a mob protesting against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme at the Secunderabad railway station, the Hindustan Times reported.
The Agnipath scheme aims to provide short-term recruitment in the armed forces. Aspirants for posts in the armed forces have been protesting against the scheme for three days. They are demanding permanent recruitment under the regular process and pension and other retirement benefits which are not part of the Agnipath scheme.
Thirteen injured persons in Secunderabad have been admitted to the city’s Gandhi Hospital. Raja Rao, the superintendent of the hospital told reporters that one of the injured persons, who received a chest injury, is in critical condition, ANI reported.
Earlier, hundreds of protestors vandalised the railway station. Some of them threw stones and set two bogies of a train on fire.
At least four more trains were burnt in protests in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The Bihar government on Friday suspended internet services in the districts of Kaimer, Bhojpur, Aurangabad, Rohtas, Buxar, Nawada, West Champaran, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Vaishali and Saran till June 19, ANI reported.
Announcing the scheme on Tuesday, the government had said citizens aged between 17 and a half and 21 years will be eligible to apply for a four-year Tour of Duty in the armed forces. Of these recruits, 25% will be eligible to apply as regular personnel after they complete their Tour of Duty.
However, those recruited under the new scheme will not get pension or gratuity benefits. They will be given Rs 11.71 lakh under a financial package at the end of their service.
On Thursday, the Centre increased the age limit for recruitment under the new scheme to 23 years from 21 years in 2022. It said that the one-time waiver in the age limit has been given as there had been no recruitment in the services in the last two years.
On Friday, aspirants for jobs in the armed forces burnt one train each in Bihar’s Samastipur, Moihuddin Nagar and Lakhisarai, according to NDTV.
The house of Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi, who is currently in Patna, was also attacked in West Champaran district’s Bettiah city. A mob was also seen outside the Lakhminia railway station in Begusarai district, according to ANI.
In Madhepura, a Bharatiya Janata Party office was set on fire.
Sanjay Singh, the Bihar additional director general of police (law and order), told ANI that the violence took place as some anti-social elements had entered the protests. The police in Bihar have registered 24 cases and have detained more than 125 persons till now, Singh said.
In Uttar Pradesh, a train was ransacked and burnt at the Ballia railway station.
Superintendent of Police RK Nayyar said that senior officers and the district magistrate had initially dispersed the protestors gathered at the railway station after holding talks with them.
“[But] After some time, some students attempted to break window pane and set fire to an empty isolated train,” Nayyar told ANI. “Attempts of dousing [the fire] underway.”
In Aligarh, the Jattari police station building and a police vehicle parked inside the complex were set on fire, ANI reported.
In Delhi, the police said some protestors tried to vandalise buses in the North East district, reported ANI. A case has been filed against the agitators who attempted to ransack the buses.
Meanwhile, Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw appealed to the protestors to not engage in violence demonstrations. He said that the Railways are government-owned and its property should not be damaged.
Mobile internet suspended in parts of Haryana
The Haryana government on Friday suspended mobile internet and SMS services for 24 hours in the Mahendragarh district and Faridabad’s Ballabhgarh area.
The move was taken to curb the spread of misinformation and rumours on social media, the state’s home department said in separate orders for the two regions.
Meanwhile, the Gurugram administration also banned large gatherings in the city, reported NDTV.
On Thursday, internet was suspended in Palwal city after some protestors threw stones outside the district commissioner’s office and torched police vehicles.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which bans the gathering of four or more persons, were also imposed in Faridabad.
Over 200 trains affected
Meanwhile, the Railways said that more than 200 trains have been affected by the agitation across the country so far, PTI reported.
Thirty-five trains were cancelled and 13 trains were terminated before their scheduled destinations.
The East Central Railways has decided to monitor the movement of eight trains on account of the protests. The East Central zone covers Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh – which are among the regions that have seen the most strident protests against the scheme.
Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw urged citizens not to engage in violent protests and damage railway property, ANI reported.