Protests against Agnipath, a radical recruitment plan for the armed forces, turned violent today as Army aspirants disrupted rail and road traffic in several parts of Bihar for the second consecutive day. Baton-wielding protestors smashed the glass windows of the intercity express train at the Bhabhua Road railway station and set one coach on fire. Holding a banner saying “Indian Army lovers,” they raised slogans rejecting the new recruitment scheme.
At the railway station in Arrah, police had to resort to tear gas shelling to disperse a huge crowd of protestors who pelted stones at the police. Visuals showed railway staff using fire extinguishers to put out a fire caused by protesters throwing furniture on the tracks and setting them alight.
In Jehanabad, students pelted stones injuring several people including cops who chased them away to clear the railway tracks where they had camped to disrupt rail traffic. Dramatic visuals from the railway station showed the police and protesting students pelting stones at each other. The cops also pointed their guns at the protesters to scare them away.
In Nawada, groups of young men burnt tyres at a public crossing and raised slogans demanding the rollback of the tour of duty scheme. They also blocked the railway tracks at the Nawada station and burnt tyres on the track. Visuals from the spot show a huge crowd damaging railway property and shouting expletives at PM Modi. Many can be seen doing pushups on the railway tracks while the police try to appeal for peace through a handheld public address system.
Agnipath, the tour of duty scheme, proposes the recruitment of jawans on a contractual basis for a four-year period followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.
In Saharsa, students flocked to the railway station and pelted stones when the police tried to chase them away to prevent rail traffic disruption.