Over 1k held for clashes during Agnipath protests across states
As the wave of violent protests against the new Agnipath military recruitment scheme receded, state police across the country began to take action over the violence in earnest and arrested over a thousand people, mostly in Bihar.
In Bihar, which has reported the worst of the violence, including trains being set on fire across districts and public property damaged, police have lodged 148 first information reports (FIRs) and arrested 805 people.
Those indulging in creating a public nuisance in the name of agitation and targeting public properties would not be spared, the state’s additional chief home secretary Chaitanya Prasad said. “District police have been directed to pick up the trouble mongers,” he said.
Police complaints have been lodged against four coaching institutes in Masaurhi for their suspected role in stone pelting at the Taregana station on Saturday. “As many as 191 persons have been arrested in the district on the charges of holding the city to ransom,” district magistrate Chandrashekhar Singh said.
In Telangana’s Secunderabad, police officials said they have not found the involvement of outsiders in the violence. “There was absolutely no involvement of any outside antisocial elements and the attacks were carried only by the army job aspirants, who were misguided by the heads of the coaching institutes,” additional director general of police, railways, Sandeep Sandilya said.
“The suspected mastermind behind the violence, a coaching institute director, is now in the custody of the Telangana police. He is being questioned,” Sandilya said. Overall, 46 people have been arrested for the violent attacks and arson at the Secunderabad railway station.
“All these were arrested in the last two days and remanded to judicial custody,” Sandilya said. “We could not make fresh arrests on Sunday, as we are in the process of identifying more protestors who took part in the violence.”
In Uttar Pradesh, the police have made a total 387 arrests have been made in connection with the violent protests. Of these, 145 people have been booked under Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code, while 242 have been booked in cases related to violence and arson.
Police have lodged 34 FIRs in connection with the protests till Sunday, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said.
In Ahmedabad, 14 people were detained after they assembled without permission to protest against the Agnipath scheme, police said. Around 100 people had gathered at a spot in the city’s Meghaninagar area.
“We detained 14 of them as they had gathered without permission,” Meghaninagar police station’s inspector J P Chauhan said. However, one of the agitators said: “We were protesting in the Gandhian way, but we were not allowed to sit even for a few minutes as police arrived and detained us. We want permission to protest as long as our demands are not met and the scheme is not taken back.” He declined to be named.
In Uttarakhand, between 300 and 400 unidentified people were booked by police for allegedly staging a violent protest on the Nainital national highway at Tokonia Chouraha on Friday. The young protestors had turned violent, misbehaved and entered into a scuffle with cops and passersby, and vandalised public property, police said.
Police had used “mild force” to disperse the crowd, they said. Haldwani city magistrate Richa Singh and three cops sustained injuries in the confrontation, said Pankaj Bhatt, senior superintendent of police, Nainital.
There was a smattering of protest even on Sunday, mostly peaceful, but in Ludhiana, agitators protesting the recruitment scheme vandalised the Ludhiana police station.
“Police immediately took action. Around 8-10 persons have been rounded up. Some people have called them and misused them,” said RS Brar, joint commissioner of police, Ludhiana. “We have videos and are identifying them.”