Protests against 'Agnipath' turn violent in Bihar; houses of Deputy CM, state BJP chief attacked
- Trains were set afire, public and police vehicles attacked, and personnel injured as protests over the government's 'Agnipath' scheme swept across states, including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
Bihar deputy chief minister Renu Devi's house in Bettiah district was attacked on Friday as protests against the new defence recruitment scheme continued, across the country. "Our residence in Bettiah was attacked. We suffered a lot of damage. She (Renu Devi) is in Patna," news agency ANI said quoting her son.
The protsters also attacked the residence of Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal, injuring one policeman in the incident. Following this, police personnel were deployed near Jaiswal's house in Hospital road in Bettiah.
Trains were set afire, public and police vehicles attacked, and personnel injured as protests over the government's 'Agnipath' scheme swept across states, including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. The contentious Agnipath scheme was announced on Tuesday to recruit jawans into the army, the navy and the air force for four years followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.
The protests came hours after the defence ministry announced a one-time waiver for the upper-age limit of the recruits from 21 to 23.
The government has defended the scheme by stressing that it was in the making for two years and only rolled out after extensive consultations with armed forces personnel. "Under the 'Agnipath' scheme, Indian youth will be provided an opportunity to serve in the armed forces as 'Agniveer'. This scheme has been brought to strengthen the security of the country. It is a transformative scheme," defence minister Rajnath Singh said in a press conference on Thursday.
North Eastern Railways cancelled 12 trains and short terminated 4 trains heading towards Prayagraj, Ballia, Varanasi and other districts in wake of the ongoing Agniveer protest. Meanwhile, South Central railway authorities stopped all trains to Secunderabad, Telangana after protesters ransacked trains in Secunderabad railway station. So far, at least 15 people have been injured in the violence clashes.