The Ministry of Defence’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme, which is a pan-India merit-based recruiting scheme for enrolling soldiers, airmen, and sailors, has been the subject of widespread protests in different regions of the country for the third day in a row.
Several places have witnessed large-scale protests, with Army candidates setting many trains on fire.
Angry applicants set fire to at least 20 bogies of the New Delhi-Bhagalpur Vikramshila Express and New Delhi-Darbhanga Bihar Sampark Kranti Express at Lakhisarai and Samastipur stations and blocked highways in Bihar on Friday, intensifying protests against the Center’s ‘Agnipath’ recruitment scheme.
Officials reported that demonstrators blocked highways in Buxar, Bhagalpur, and Samastipur and burned tyres as a form of protest.
The protests in the state, which are now in their third day, have caused huge disruptions in railway services at Buxar and Kahalgaon, according to East Central Railways officials.
The rioters set fire to 12 bogies of the Vikramshila Express, according to Jamalpur superintendent of railways Umer Javed. There were no casualties, though.
Youths demonstrating against the Centre’s new strategy to recruit soldiers set an empty train on fire and vandalised a few more trains here on Friday.
According to police sources, the demonstrators assembled at Ballia’s Veeri Lork Stadium and marched to the Ballia railway station.
A video of young people shouting slogans and vandalising the Ballia-Varanasi Memu and Ballia-Shahganj trains went viral.
They allegedly also threw stones near the railway godown and targeted individual shops on the platform of the train station; some buses were also targeted.
According to a senior South Central Railway officer, the agitators set fire to three passenger train coaches, although none of the passengers were injured.
“An incident (of firing) occurred to contain them, and some firing occurred as well,” the official told a news agency.
People raced in confusion in the aftermath of the demonstration at Secunderabad Railway station and in the surrounding area, causing tension. Shops in the vicinity of the railway station were closed. It was unclear whether anyone was injured as a result of the shooting.
On TV, it appeared that some protestors who had been hurt at the station were being taken to the hospital.
Hundreds of protesters gathered on lines at a railway station in Indore on Friday morning and flung stones, causing the authorities to either stop or cancel several trains and leading the police to fire teargas shells to manage the situation, officials said.
According to reports, two police officers were injured, and roughly 15 demonstrators were arrested.