Pic: Police and para-military patrol the streets in Jharkhand on Monday morning
Precautionary measures are being taken in many states ahead of the Bharat Bandh call today, June 20, given by Armed forces aspirants who are protesting the Agnipath scheme. The government has ruled out a rollback of the scheme. As many as 229 Mail/ Express and 254 Passenger trains stand cancelled today, while 8 Mail/Express have been partially cancelled, as of June 19. Due to operational reasons, 31 trains terminated at various railway stations in Delhi and Ghaziabad along with Mumbai bound train from Punjab will remain cancelled on June 20.
The Congress said lakhs of party workers across the country will hold peaceful protests on Monday against the Agnipath scheme and the Central government’s “vendetta politics” in targeting Rahul Gandhi. The Punjab government has issued an advisory, directing authorities to step up security at central government offices, army recruitment centres and offices “related to BJP and Hindu leaders.”
Ever since the protests, a total of 350 trains have been cancelled in Bihar which saw violent protests over the new scheme. The Bihar government has also increased security at party offices considered vulnerable. As of now, internet services remain shut in 20 districts. The Kerala Police said its entire force will be on duty today to arrest anyone engaging in violence or destruction of public property.
In Jharkhand, schools have been shut on Monday amid the bandh call. The ongoing examinations of Classes 9 and 11 have also been postponed, reported regional media.
In Gautam Buddh Nagar near Delhi, the police said prohibitory orders banning large gatherings have been imposed. People have been asked not to disrupt law and order.
In Faridabad near Delhi, police spokesperson Sube Singh said they are trying to avert any untoward incident. Roadblocks have been set up in various places and more than 2,000 policemen will be fielded today.
Under the new programme, young men and women aged between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 years are to be recruited in the Army, Navy and the Air Force, largely on a four-year short-term contractual basis. As protests intensified, the Centre raised the upper age limit for recruitment to 23 years for 2022 as a one-time measure.