Protests continue against Agnipath scheme in Bihar for 3rd day, train set afire
The protesters took to the streets again and blocked railway tracks even as the government late on Thursday granted a two-year age relaxation under the scheme through a one-time waiver
Violent protests against the short-term recruitments in the defence services under the Agnipath scheme continued in Bihar for a third day on Friday with protestors torching Jammu Tawi-Guwahati Lohit Express and ransacking Mohiddinagar railway station in Samastipur.
The protesters took to the streets again and blocked railway tracks even as the government late on Thursday granted a two-year age relaxation under the scheme through a one-time waiver to assuage the anger over it after at least 180 people were injured in protests on Thursday.
Agnipath replaces the legacy system of recruitment to lower the age profile of the three services, ensure a fitter military and create a technically adept war fighting force capable of meeting future challenges.
The protesters disrupted road traffic in Samastipur town on Friday and blocked the Patna-New Delhi main railway route in Buxar and Patna-Howrah-Gaya-Bhagalpur section. Three air-conditioned compartments of the Vikramshila Express were torched after it was ransacked. Protests were also reported in Arwal, Khagaria, Bhojpur, and Lakhisarai districts.
Police said protesters started blocking the movement of a dozen trains from around 5am. Birendra Kumar, a spokesperson for the railways, said the schedule of at least 25 trains was disrupted.
The protesters, who shouted slogans against the Agnipath scheme, took to the streets and also forced the closure of shops and business establishments.
At Bihiya railway station, protesters blocked the tracks and threw stones at police personnel. They ransacked the station premises and set on fire a storeroom.
The fresh protests came even as the state government issued a high alert and directed top officials to ensure the safety of railway tracks as well as government properties. Additional chief secretary (home) Chaitnya Prasad instructed the officials to gather intelligence and take action against the troublemakers.
On Thursday, protesters torched five trains. Police said they have registered at least 20 cases and arrested 128 people for the violence.