Bihar Agnipath protests led to ₹200 cr damage, 50 bogies burnt: Official
Agnipath scheme protests: Bihar police have sounded a high alert after calls for a bandh today followed violence yesterday.
Violent protests in Bihar against the 'Agnipath' military recruitment scheme has destroyed property worth ₹200 crore and left 50 coaches and five engines completely burnt, a senior railway official told news agency ANI on Saturday. Prabhat Kumar, divisional manager for the Danapur Rail Division said platforms, computer systems and other technical equipment were also damaged as hundreds went on a rampage for a third consecutive day Friday, burning and vandalising trains and railway stations to demand the scheme's withdrawal.
On Friday nearly a dozen coaches were set on fire - including one each from passenger trains at the Bhabua Road, Sidhwalia (in Gopalganj) and Chapra railway stations. Three coaches of the Barauni-Gondia Express were burnt. In Siwan district protesters tried to set a rail engine on fire. Three air-conditioned compartments of the Vikramshila Express were torched after it was ransacked.
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Railway station premises - like the newly-built platform in Ara district and the Bapudham railway station in Motihari - were ransacked and destroyed. At least one passenger suffered injuries.
East Central Railway said 30 trains, including four expresses, were cancelled and others were delayed by several hours. Some trains were also left stranded.
On Thursday, protesters torched five trains and destroyed several coaches.
This morning police across Bihar sounded a state-wide high alert over a bandh called by protesters and backed by the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal and ex-chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular), which is an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Internet services have been suspended in 12 districts and special contingents of armed police have been deployed in violence-affected areas.
Orders banning large gatherings have also been passed.
Police have also filed a FIR against 170 people and 46 have been arrested for vandalising the Danapur railway station.
A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court asking for a SIT to probe violence against the 'Agnipath' recruitment scheme and against the Railways.
With input from ANI