As protests over the new military recruiting policy, Agnipath, started their third day today, mobs set trains on fire in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The initiative has been defended by the government, which has described it as “transformative.”
For the third day in a row, trains were set ablaze, and public and police vehicles were damaged in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, amid protests against the new recruiting plan that has sparked a firestorm.
In Uttar Pradesh, a mob stormed a railway station in Ballia this morning, setting fire to a train and causing damage to station property before being dispersed by police.
Another group of protestors using sticks clashed with police outside the train station in the eastern Uttar Pradesh district. Young guys with lathis are seen smashing stores and benches at the railway station in videos from the demonstration. “The police were able to prevent the crowd from causing widespread damage. We’ll take action against the men “Saumya Agarwal, the Ballia District Magistrate, informed reporters.
Officials told NDTV that two coaches of the Jammu Tawi Express train caught fire at Mohiuddinagar station in Bihar, but no one was wounded.
Following stone-throwing and rioting by protesters in Haryana’s Palwal district, phone, internet, and SMS services have been suspended for 24 hours.
On Thursday, the second day of the protest against the scheme, which proposes a short four-year term for soldiers in the three armed forces with no gratuity or pension upon retirement, Bihar bore the brunt of the violence, with trains set ablaze, bus window panes smashed, and passersby, including a ruling BJP MLA, attacked with stones. The new strategy attempts to reduce the government’s hefty payroll and pension costs, freeing up funds to purchase weapons.
On Tuesday, the government launched Agnipath, a “transformative” system for recruiting personnel in the Army, Navy, and Air Force, mostly on a merit basis.
On Tuesday, the government introduced Agnipath, a “transformative” system for recruiting personnel in the Army, Navy, and Air Force, mostly on a four-year short-term contract basis.
The duration of service, the lack of pension benefits for those released early, and the 17.5 to 21-year age restriction that now makes many of them ineligible are among the issues that protesters are upset with.
The opposition has intensified its criticism of the government over the new recruitment process, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to put their patience to the test by forcing them to walk on Agnipath. Meanwhile, Akhilesh Yadav, the head of the Samajwadi Party, termed the decision “negligent” and potentially “fatal” for the country’s future.