Agnipath: Several trains set afire, narrow escape for BJP MLA in Bihar; protests spread to other States

Aspirants agitating against Agnipath, the central government's new recruitment policy for the armed forces, went on a rampage at the BJP's Nawada office and destroyed several properties

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It was a narrow escape for BJP MLA Aruna Devi after a large number of aspirants tried to attack her when she was passing through a railway crossing in Nawada on Thursday.

Aruna Devi was on the way to district headquarters, Nawada city, to participate at an event. When her car reached the railway crossing of Nawada railway station, a large number of protesters attacked her. They pelted stones on her vehicles. She somehow managed to escape in her car. Her driver however sustained minor injuries in the incident.

Aspirants agitating against Agnipath, the central government's new recruitment policy for the armed forces, went on a rampage at the BJP's Nawada office and destroyed several properties. Then they set the BJP office on fire. More than 300 chairs, office properties and documents were gutted in the fire.

In Bihar's Gopalganj district, the agitating aspirants set three coaches of a passenger train on fire at Sidhwalia railway station.

In Chhapra, the protesters attacked as many as 12 trains and set three of them on fire. In Kaimur, they set Inter-city Express train on fire.

More than 15 districts across Bihar on Thursday witnessed massive protests and vandalism against the Agnipath scheme.

An agitating student in Chhapra said that the central government wants to push students into the criminal activities as they will have nothing to do after four years of service in defence forces.


"After four years of job, a youth becomes trained in military skills and combat. Once he becomes unemployed, what will he do? He will take up terrorism, criminal activities and even police will not be able to arrest such youth. They will be more skilful in military combat than police personnel," an agitating youth said.

Another youth said: "Why Agnipath scheme is not implemented on officers. They should also be brought into this scheme and restricted for four years of service."

The majority of the aspirants demanded withdrawal of the Agnipath scheme and start of normal recruitment into defence forces.

In Uttar Pradesh, protests began in some districts of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday against the 'Agnipath' recruitment scheme of the Central government.

Students blocked the GT road in Bulandshahr and raised slogans demanding the withdrawal of the scheme which allow short-term recruitment in the armed forces.

The district officials had a tough time in persuading the protesters to call off the blockade. The protesters submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate.

In Gonda, the protests were led by students who carried placards and shouted slogans against the scheme.

Similarly, in Unnao too, protests were held with students and unemployed youth demanding that recruitment be done in the traditional way instead of short-term contract.

In Gurugram, hundreds of Army aspirants on Thursday blocked the Delhi-Jaipur Expressway in Bilaspur area in protest against Agnipath yojna, the government's new scheme for short-term recruitment into the armed forces.

The traffic congestion on the expressway stretched over several kilometres. The protesting defence aspirants raised slogans against the PM Modi-led BJP government and demanded roll back of the new scheme.

"The government should roll back the four-year plan. This new scheme will hamper the interest of the aspirants to join the Army to serve the nation," a protester said.

A cop at the traffic police control room also confirmed traffic snarl on the Delhi-Jaipur expressway near Bilaspur.

"Our traffic personnel are on the spot to divert the traffic and pacify the protesters to clear the jam as they have stopped trucks in the middle of the highway to hamper the traffic movement on the expressway," he said.

In Delhi, a group of people on Thursday protested against delay in Railway recruitment exams and the newly launched Agnipath scheme and subsequently stopped a train, an official said.

Around 15-20 people gathered at railway station Nangloi and staged a protest against delay in Railway recruitment examinations and the recently introduced Agnipath Scheme."During the protest they stopped one train at Nangloi Railway Station bearing train number 04424 (Jind to old Delhi)," Deputy Commissioner of Police (outer district) Sameer Sharma said.

After this, Nangloi police station's Station House officer immediately reached the spot and requested the protester to vacate the railway track peacefully.

"They were heard peacefully wherein they stated that they had filled some govt examinations 2-3 years before but the examinations for the recruitment has not been conducted yet, and they have become over-aged now," DCP Sharma said.

However, the police were able to pacify the protestors and the crowd was dispersed. "The situation is now under control and all the students have dispersed from the railway track," Sharma added.

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Published: 16 Jun 2022, 4:21 PM