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Home / India / Agnipath scheme: Cops flood protest epicentres in Bihar

Agnipath scheme: Cops flood protest epicentres in Bihar

Train services remain suspended with railways cancelling at least 371 express and passenger trains
Security personnel stand guard along railway tracks after several trains were cancelled because of the protests against the Agnipath scheme in Patna on Sunday.
Security personnel stand guard along railway tracks after several trains were cancelled because of the protests against the Agnipath scheme in Patna on Sunday.
PTI picture

Dev Raj   |   Patna   |   Published 20.06.22, 03:52 AM

Violent protests in Bihar against the Agnipath recruitment scheme eased after four days with massive deployment of police in the most-affected districts, but train services remained suspended and Internet continued to be blocked in many places. 

The Opposition Grand Alliance will take out a march from the Assembly to the Raj Bhavan on June 22 to demand the rollback of Agnipath, which seeks to recruit youths in the armed forces for only four years and demobilise most of them after the completion of the tenure without pension.

Bihar did not witness violent protests and arson attacks on trains and other government properties on Sunday as the government deployed a huge number of police and anti-riot personnel in the districts where the flare-ups have been the most intense.

Train services, however, remained suspended with the railways cancelling at least 371 express and passenger trains either originating or terminating in the state or passing through it.

The East Central Railway (ECR) is running eight special trains in Bihar between 8pm on Sunday and 4am on Monday to evacuate thousands of passengers stranded at various stations across the state due to the agitation. The nocturnal window was chosen to avoid the possibility of violence.

“Drinking water, tea, food and other necessary items are being provided to the stranded passengers. We are ensuring cancellation of tickets without any charges. Additional counters have been opened and adequate cash has been arranged in view of the huge number of cancellation of tickets,” ECR chief public relations officer Virendra Kumar said.

Internet remained suspended in 18 of Bihar’s 38 districts while many other districts reported slow services. The state government has restricted Internet access to check the spread of rumours that might instigate youths to indulge in violence.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav condemned Agnipath at a media interaction on Sunday and asked the Union government to be sensitive towards the requirements of the youth.

“We request the central government not to indulge in this ‘four-year joke’ with the youth. It should show magnanimity and say sorry to them for faulty policies, the pitiable economy and huge unemployment in the country,” he said.

Tejashwi, the leader of the Opposition in Bihar, announced that the Grand Alliance would take out a Raj Bhavan march on Wednesday to press for the rollback of Agnipath.

He asked 20 questions related to the scheme and demanded its withdrawal.

Some of the questions: why Agnipath recruits would get only 30 days’ annual leave as opposed to the usual 90 days, why officers in the armed forces were also not being recruited on contract if the scheme was justified, whether there was a hidden agenda of the RSS, and had the service tenure been limited to four years to avoid paying gratuity, medical and canteen facilities.

Tejashwi also sought to know whether the opinion of defence experts had been taken while formulating the Agnipath scheme and whether the possible impact on law and order had been considered as most of the recruits would be released after the end of the term.



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