BJP Feels The Heat of Agnipath Agitation

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The agitators also vandalised the house of deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi in Bettiah city. They pelted stones at her house and destroyed properties…reports Asian Lite News

Protests against Agnipath scheme intensified in Bihar’s several districts on Friday with the agitators damaging the Railways properties and targeting the BJP leaders in West Champaran district.

The agitators attacked BJP MLA Vinay Bihari and vandalised his Mahindra Bolero SUV. He was on the way from Lauria to his native place.

“Around 200 agitators holding batons in hands intercepted my SUV and smashed the window panes. I have two armed guards but they were helpless. The agitators were abusing Modi Ji,” Vinay Bihar told the media personnel.

Besides Vinay Bihari, the agitators attacked the house of Sanjay Jaiswal, the BJP state president in Bettiah city, which is the district headquarters of West Champaran. The protesters vandalised his properties.

The agitators also vandalised the house of deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi in Bettiah city. They pelted stones at her house and destroyed properties.

In Samastipur, the agitators attacked the house of BJP MLA Birendra Yadav. They pelted stones at his house.

Keeping in view the violent protests, a majority of the family members of the BJP MLAs in the affected districts have taken shelter in the houses of neighbours and relatives.

The heat of Agnipath reached Bihar capital Patna on Friday. The agitators targeted Patna-Bakhtiyarpur four lane road toll plaza at Didarganj and set a toll kiosk on fire. Besides, a large number of agitators burnt the tyres on Ashok Rajpath at the Patna college.

In Danapur, an outskirt town of Patna, the agitators who were marching from Saguna Mor to Danapur railway station attacked on city buses shattering the window panes.

The agitators set the Rajgir-Fatuha Memo passenger on fire at the Fatuha railway station in Patna district. Three coaches were gutted in the attack.

 In Rohtas, the protesters set the Sasaram toll plaza on fire. The Sasaram toll plaza is located on NH 19 connecting New Delhi to Kolkata. The police force fired several rounds in the air to disperse the mob.

In Supaul, the violent protesters set fire to Saharsa-Lalitgram passenger train (05516 down). An engine and a coach were gutted in the fire.

In Bhojpur, the protesters set the Patna-Sasaram passenger train afire at Kulharia railway station. Two coaches were gutted in the fire.

In Samastipur, the agitatorsburnt down four coaches of the Darbhanga-New Delhi Sampark Kranti Express train. The train was on its way to New Delhi. When it reached Samastipur station a violent mob attacked it. They forced the passengers to deboard and then set it on fire.

Recruitment Drive

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the recruitment into the military through the Agnipath scheme will begin soon. He advised the aspirants to begin their preparations.

Calling the scheme a ‘golden opportunity’ to join the nation’s defence system and to serve the country, Singh thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allowing age waiver for the first batch to be recruited through the scheme.

However, the Defence Minister’s comment comes amid the protests against the Agnipath scheme which started in Bihar and has spread to several states. The protests against Agnipath continued for the third day in seven states, including the national capital.

“Agnipath is a golden opportunity for the youth to join the defence system and serve the country. As the recruitment was stalled for the last two years, many were deprived of the opportunity to join the army,” Singh tweeted.

“Therefore, keeping in mind the future of the youth, on the instructions of the Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi, the government has increased the age limit for the recruitment of Agniveers from 21 years to 23 years this time. This one time relaxation has been given. This will entitle a lot of youth to become Agniveers,” said the Defence minister in a subsequent tweet.

“I heartily thank the Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi for his concern and sensitivity towards the future of the youth. I appeal to the youth that the process of recruitment in the army is going to start in few days. They must start their preparation for it,” Rajnath Singh tweeted.

Considering the widespread protests, the government on Thursday allowed a one-time age waiver for the scheme considering that recruitment was stalled for the last two years. The upper age limit now has been raised to 23 instead of 21 now.

Train services

 Hundreds of youths demonstrated against the Centre’s new military recruitment policy, Agnipath at the Indore railway station forcing cancellation of several trains.

  Agitators barged into the Laxmi Bai railway station, raised slogans opposing the new policy and indulged in stone pelting. Heavy police force have been deployed to disperse the protesters and to control the situation.

  According to official information, services of at least five to six trains were disrupted for over three hours. Several protesters were detained and security forces deployed in nearby railway stations, including Ratlam, Shajapur, Ujjain.

  The agitation here started a day after it rocked Gwalior on Friday. Panic gripped the city for almost three-four hours. Private and public properties were damaged and tyres burnt on the railway track.

  Two FIRs – one in Railway police and another at local police station have been registered and identification of youth that damaged properties during the protest in Gwalior is underway.

  As the protest spread in the state, leaders of the ruling BJP accused the opposition of  “misleading” the people which resulted in a stir.

  State Home Minister Narottam Mishra blamed MP Congress Kamal Nath for misleading the youth in the state. “Agnipath is a revolutionary step by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the armed forces. Kamal Nath’s message on social media (twitter) seems to have misled youth and they are protesting,” Mishra has said on Thursday’s protest in Gwalior.

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