The new military recruitment scheme, Agnipath, has boiled into a major issue for the government with protests now spreading to eight states. A person died in police firing as mob set fire to trains and damaged properties, creating a security scare.
Several vehicles were set on fire this morning in Bihar as the protesters tried to implement a bandh called against the contentious recruitment scheme. Protests against ‘Agnipath’ turned violent in Bihar on Friday when rampaging mobs set fire to dozens of railway coaches, engines and stations and torched BJP offices, vehicles and other property, prompting the police to suspend internet services in nearly a third of the state.
At least 260 people have been arrested in Uttar Pradesh over the protests, which has seen hundreds of angry youth, carrying bamboo sticks and stones, storming railway premises across cities and small towns and laying siege to highways.
In Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao expressed shock and grief over the death of a 24-year-old man who died after security personnel opened fire at agitators at the Secunderabad railway station on Friday. Mr Rao announced ₹ 25 Lakhs compensation to the victim’s family and also one government job to an eligible member of the family, his office said in a release.
The incident led to a war of words between Mr Rao’s government and the opposition BJP, with Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao blaming the “faulty procedures” of the Centre for the death of Rakesh.
Faced with a massive backlash to the scheme, the centre has now announced more concessions for Agniveers, including reservation in central armed police forces jobs.