Protests continue in Bihar over Centre’s Agnipath scheme

In the Begusarai district, the agitated youth blocked the Rajbara Gumti road. The movement of trains was affected as agitating protestors chose to voice their concerns by sitting on the railway tracks. Roads were also blocked at many places.
Protests continue in Bihar over Centre’s Agnipath scheme
Railway station in Bihar's Lakhisarai district ANI

BEGUSARAI: Protests against ‘Agnipath’, a recruitment scheme introduced by the Central government for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces, in Bihar continued for the second consecutive day as protestors on Friday disrupted the movement of trains in various districts of Bihar.

In the Begusarai district, the agitated youth blocked the Rajbara Gumti road. The movement of trains was affected as agitating protestors chose to voice their concerns by sitting on the railway tracks. Roads were also blocked at many places. During the protest, a tire was burnt on the railway track. Students created a huge ruckus at Sahebpurkamal railway station in the district as well as arson and stone-pelting.

Lakhisarai district witnessed a similar furore. A huge group of protestors jointly marched in the district against the scheme by the Central government. During the protest, slogans were also raised against the Central government.

Local police officials who were present at the spot told ANI, “They were stopping me from shooting a video and even snatched away my phone. About 4-5 compartments are affected. Passengers alighted and managed to proceed on their own.” A similar protest against the scheme was witnessed in Uttar Pradesh’s Balia. A huge crowd gathered at Ballia Railway Station in protest against the Agnipath scheme.

“Forces have been deployed at the station since morning. A few hooligans reached there but they were stopped from damaging much of the public property. They attempted stone-pelting. Action being taken,” Ballia District Magistrate Saumya Agarwal said.

Violent protest over the Central government’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme for recruitment in armed forces continued across Bihar on Thursday with hundreds of aspirants disrupting rail and road traffic while police fired tear gas shells to disperse them.

On Wednesday also, aspirants staged protests at Muzaffarpur, Begusarai and Buxar district over the scheme, disrupting road and rail traffic movement. The recruitment of ‘Agniveers’ would begin in the next 90 days and the first batch will be ready by July 2023. “The government should give ‘Agniveers’ 20-30 per cent reservation in other jobs once they are out of service after four years under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme”, said a protester.

Agnipath Scheme was recently launched by the government in an effort to bring a change in the recruitment process of the Armed Forces. With the new military recruitment scheme facing a backlash by Opposition, the Centre has decided to bring a change in the upper age limit for recruiting Agniveers.

Granting a one-time waiver, the Centre on June 16, 2022, announced that the Agniveer upper age limit for recruitments via Agnipath Scheme has been extended to 23 years from 21 years.

On June 14, the Union Cabinet approved an attractive recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces. The scheme is called Agnipath and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers. Agnipath allows patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years.

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