Pic: Visuals from Secunderabad Railway Station, Friday
The Agneepath Scheme, despite being hugely protested against, will go through. Announcing the same, IAF Chief Air Marshal V.R. Chaudhuri stated Friday, that IAF will begin recruitment on June 24. Other the other hand, the Army will issue its notification in two days.
However, India was jolted by several protests across the nation. From damaging public property to burning the trains, to blocking the roads, protests were seen across Bihar, Hyderabad, Ballia, Varanasi, Mathura and many other places. The youth pelted stones and damaged public properties at various places. In continuation of the widespread resentment against the proposed overhaul to recruitment in the armed forces, Friday saw a fresh spate of protests, this time from Telengana and Mathura.
One person lost his life while several others were injured after Telangana police allegedly opened fire on a mob at Secunderabad railway station as protests against the Agneepath Scheme for recruiting soldiers across the three services escalated into large-scale violence and arson.
Hundreds of youngsters gathered at the Secunderabad railway station on Friday morning, demanding long-term Army recruitment instead of the new four-year period of service. The situation escalated with protesters going on a rampage, setting at least four railway coaches on fire, blocking railway lines with two-wheelers, wooden boxes, garbage cans and wheelbarrows of railway porters, and stealing goods kept in the parcel section. An official of the Railway Protection Force said that one train was set on fire.
Protesters also damaged offices on Platform Nos 1 and 10, ransacked computers and electronics, destroyed CCTV cameras, lights and fans on all 10 platforms and pelted stones on the police. Food and convenience stalls on all the platforms were also looted and set on fire. As the protesters tried to enter electric locomotive engines, railway officials cut power to the entire railway station. The protestors set on fire or completely damaged Ajanta Express, East Coast Express, and an MMTS train.
Meanwhile, train services were hit with 35 trains being cancelled, 200 trains thrown out of schedule and 13 halted intermittently.
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Trains that were scheduled to arrive at Secunderabad railway station were diverted to other nearby stations or halted outside. All other trains scheduled to leave from the station were delayed. Thousands of passengers waiting for trains were stranded and police moved them to safer locations. After the police brought the situation under control, the protesters demanded that the Centre announce the Army recruitment date immediately.
In Mathura, citizens were caught in the agitation as police continued to clamp down on protestors. The visuals were filmed on a prominent national highway that passes through the western Uttar Pradesh’s district. Other videos showed police chasing protesters and firing tear gas at them on the highway. Windowpanes of several cars and trucks on the highway were also smashed by protesters.
Mathura Police responded to the video, saying that senior officers are at the spot and strict action will be taken against the violent protesters.
Meanwhile, BJP MP BJP Varun Gandhi, in defence of the protestors, tweeted that even the government gets an opportunity to work for five years, then why country’s youth get just four years of service.
In a letter to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Gandhi said the young population has shared their questions and doubts with him about the radical changes in the soldiers’ recruitment process which also proposes that the 75 per cent of the recruits under the scheme will retire after four years of service without pension.