Protests across country over Agnipath

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The opposition maintained the pressure on the government and pressed for the immediate withdrawal of the Agnipath scheme…reports Asian Lite News

With the government standing its ground on the ‘Agnipath’ military recruitment scheme, some organisations have called for ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Monday amid the ongoing protests demanding a rollback of the plan.

Over 500 trains have been cancelled today in view of the Bharat Bandh call in parts of the country. The railways has suffered a major loss of property due to arson and rioting by the protesters over the last five days.

Traffic congestion at Delhi borders

Amid demonstrations against the government’s new Agnipath scheme, some organisations have called for a ‘Bharat bandh’ on Monday.

Delhi and Gurugram police have intensified vehicle checking at the Delhi-Gurugram border on National Highway 48, which resulted in huge traffic congestion.

Commuters mostly entering Delhi were stuck in the jam. The Delhi Police has put up its barricades at the borders and only a few lanes were open for the traffic entering the city. This caused the traffic going towards the capital to be slow and vehicles were in the queue from the border to Shankar Chowk on the expressway.

The heavy presence of security personnel was seen at the Delhi-Gurugram border in the early hours of Monday in the wake of the nationwide shutdown call. This caused traffic movement on the expressway to slow down and massive jam was witnessed on the national highway.

Sources said the police are keeping a vigil on vehicles coming from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to the national capital.

The officials of Gurugram traffic control room said that traffic movement on the expressway is slow due to Delhi police putting up barricades on the Delhi-Gurugram border and near the Rajokri flyover.

“Police are updating people about the traffic situation in Gurugram through the official social media handles,” said Ravinder Kumar Tomer, DCP (traffic), adding that “While regular traffic can pass, checks are likely to slow it down or lead to jams. More than 1,100 traffic cops have been deployed at all major points.”

“The Gurugram police are already on high alert amid the demonstration. The strength of the personnel has been increased at all the connecting borders of the district. Traffic advisory has also been issued,” he said.

The traffic jams could be seen at Noida-Delhi border as well.

Meanwhile, within Delhi at Jantar Mantar, the Congress has begun its ‘Satyagrah’ to register its protest against the government over defence recruitment scheme Agnipath.

The Agnipath scheme, termed as a historic and transformative measure by the government, has met unprecedented levels of agitations and protests in several states across India.

On Monday, the agitation forced the Railways to cancel 181 Mail Express and 348 passenger trains.

‘Govt’s ultimate anti-national act’

Stepping up its attack on the Centre, the Congress held a ‘Satyagraha’ in Delhi in support of those protesting the government’s Agnipath scheme with party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra urging the youth to recognise “fake nationalists” and ensure that a new government is formed in the country which shows “real patriotism”.

She alleged the new military recruitment scheme would be destructive for the youth and the Army.

Several top Congress leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi, AICC general secretary organisation K C Venugopal, party’s leader in Lok Sabha Adir Ranjan Chowdhury, Harish Rawat, Communications department head Jairam Ramesh, Salman Khurshid, Sachin Pilot, Deepender Hooda and Ajay Maken, participated in the ‘Satyagraha’ held at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.

Congress leaders and supporters criticised the BJP-led Central government and said the Agnipath scheme is not beneficial for the country’s youth and will also jeopardises national security.

“There is no bigger patriot than you. I want to tell you, open your eyes and recognise the fake nationalists and fake patriots. The entire country and the Congress are with you in your struggle,” Priyanka Gandhi said in her remarks aimed at the youths protesting the Agnipath scheme.

In her address, the Congress general secretary also recited a few lines from Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s Hindi poem ‘Agnipath’ to urge the youths to persevere and keep struggling peacefully.

“The name of the poem has been given to such a scheme that will destroy the youth. This scheme will destroy the Army. Recognise this government’s intentions.”

“In a democratic way and by walking on the path of truth and non-violence, bring down this government. Your objective should be (to ensure) that such a government is formed in the country which shows real patriotism and takes forward the poor and the youth of the country,” Priyanka Gandhi said.

She also appealed to those protesting to not resort to violence.

“I want the youth to know that we understand your pain. This is your country and this country’s property is yours. So, it is your responsibility to protect it. I appeal to you to hold peaceful protests but not stop. It is your duty to protect the country’s democracy. Every leader of the Congress will support you in fulfilling this duty,” she said.

The Congress leader alleged that the government is working for big industrialists.

“I appeal to you to understand the situations around you (and) what the government is doing. This government is not working for the poor and its people but for big industrialists,” Priyanka Gandhi said.

Addressing the gathering, Pilot said if the government wanted to save money then it should not have gone ahead with the Central Vista project and bought two planes, that would have saved thousands of crores.

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