Friday 1 July 2022
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Bihar BJP office vandalised; entitlement seekers spread protests against Agnipath to Haryana, Uttar Pradesh

Bhabhua, Nawada, Arrah, Jehanabad, Saharsa, Chhapra, Muzaffarpur and Buxar of Bihar are up in flames, as socialist rent-seekers vandalise trains and buses and even assault passers-by

Protests against Agnipath, a recruitment plan that adds to India’s reserve defence forces as well as opens a new avenue of employment for the youth in the armed forces, turned more violent today than yesterday as job seekers, even before getting the jobs, disrupted rail and road traffic in several parts of Bihar for the second consecutive day — with the demand that they be allowed to work until the time of regular retirement. The lot that has been brought up with the idea that they are entitled set trains on fire, disrupted rail and road traffic, smashed window panes of buses and assaulted passers-by, including a ruling BJP MLA.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has been trying to communicate to the people what Agnipath is and how the scheme works but to no avail.

The vandals pelted stones, demanding the withdrawal of the new short-term recruitment scheme. Violent protests have now spread to multiple states across the country. Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have reported violent protests too.

The authority suspended phone, internet and SMS services for 24 h in District Palwal, Haryana, following stone-pelting and violence by the job seekers. Police had to take recourse to aerial firing after a mob attacked them and set their vehicles on fire.

Due to demonstrations and vandalism at several railway stations, the East Central Railway zone of Indian Railways cancelled 22 trains from Bihar and stopped five after they completed their journeys partially.

Brandishing big sticks, protestors smashed glass windows of the intercity express train at Bihar’s 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.

In Nawada, Bihar, a mob attacked the vehicle of BJP MLA Aruna Devi, who was on her way to a court. The agitators hurled stones at her car, leaving five persons, including the MLA, injured. The BJP office in Nawada was vandalised too. “The protesters seemed to have been provoked by the sight of the party flag, fitted on my car, which they tore. My driver, two security guards, and two personal staff members have sustained injuries,” the MLA told reporters, adding that she was “too shaken” to have registered a police complaint.

At the railway station in Arrah, Bihar, police shelled tear gas 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, Bihar, freeloaders 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 pointed their guns at the protesters to scare them away.

In Nawada, groups of young men brainwashed with socialism burnt tyres at a public crossing and raised slogans demanding the rollback of the tour of duty scheme. They 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.

In Saharsa, Bihar, students flocked to the railway station and pelted stones when the police tried to chase them away to prevent rail traffic disruption.

Violent mobs could be seen in Chhapra of Bihar, carrying heavy wooden sticks and smashing roadways buses in protest.

Protests have been reported from several parts of neighbouring Uttar Pradesh as well.

Yesterday, protests broke out in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur and Buxar with the protesters asking what they will do after four years.

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. The new recruitment plan aims to cut down the government’s massive salary and pension bills and free up funds for arms procurement.


Under the Agnipath scheme, about 45,000 people between the of 17.5 years and 21 years will be inducted into the services for a four-year tenure. During this period, they will be paid a monthly salary between Rs 30,000-40,000 plus allowances. They will be entitled to medical and insurance benefits.

After four years, only 25% of these soldiers will be retained and they will go on to serve for a full 15 years in non-officer ranks. The remaining will exit the services with a package between Rs 11 lakh – rs 12 lakh but will not be eligible for pension benefits.

Under the old system, youths aged between 16.5 and 21 years were selected for a minimum of 15 years of service and used to get a pension after retirement.

The new policy has drawn criticism and questions from several quarters, including a section of veterans. Critics have argued that a four-year tenure will hit fighting spirit in the ranks and make them risk-averse.

Among the veterans, Maj Gen BS Dhanoa (retired) tweeted, “Two serious recommendations to the just-announced recruitment policy for the armed forces; a. Increase the service period of new recruits to a min of seven years b. Make the retention of those keen to serve longer at least 50%.”

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