Patna: The agitation against the Agnipath scheme turned violent as it continued for a third straight day in Bihar with protesters allegedly attacking the houses of Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi and Bihar BJP president and West Champaran MP Sanjay Jaiswal.
The residence of Jaiswal, in Bettiah, was attacked by agitators protesting against the Agnipath recruitment scheme. At least one policeman was injured.
Jaiswal, while confirming the development to ANI, said that he was at his ancestral residence when the incident took place. “Not much damage to the property has been done,” he said.
Meanwhile, Renu Devi’s son told ANI, “Our residence in Bettiah was attacked. We suffered a lot of damage. She (Renu Devi) is in Patna.”
Today, railway traffic was blocked and train coaches were set ablaze in several states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Telangana. Meanwhile, anticipating violence in the state, the Haryana government has suspended internet services in Faridabad district’s Ballabgarh.
In Telangana, several people were injured, after Telangana police allegedly opened fire on a mob at Secunderabad railway station as protests against the Agnipath scheme escalated into large-scale violence and arson.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today slammed the Centre over the Agnipath scheme. Rahul Gandhi tweeted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not understand what the country wants, listing out initiatives by the central government that were “rejected” by the people.
“He can’t hear anything except the voice of his ‘friends’,” Rahul said. Meanwhile, Priyanka asked PM Modi to withdraw the scheme immediately. She added that the government had changed its rules for the Agnipath recruitment plan in less than 24 hours, indicating that it is being imposed on the youth in a hurry.
Violent protest over the Central government’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme for recruitment in armed forces continued across Bihar on Thursday with hundreds of aspirants disrupting rail and road traffic while police fired tear gas shells to disperse them.
On Wednesday also, aspirants staged protests at Muzaffarpur, Begusarai and Buxar districts over the scheme, disrupting road and rail traffic movement. The recruitment of ‘Agniveers’ would begin in the next 90 days and the first batch will be ready by July 2023. “The government should give ‘Agniveers’ 20-30 per cent reservation in other jobs once they are out of service after four years under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme”, said a protester.
Agnipath Scheme was recently launched by the government in an effort to bring a change in the recruitment process of the Armed Forces. With the new military recruitment scheme facing a backlash by Opposition, the Centre has decided to bring a change in the upper age limit for recruiting Agniveers. Granting a one-time waiver, the Centre on June 16, 2022, announced that the Agniveer upper age limit for recruitments via Agnipath Scheme has been extended to 23 years from 21 years.
Consequent to the commencement of the Agnipath scheme, the entry age for all new recruits in the Armed Forces has been fixed as 17 1/2 – 21 years of age, said the Ministry of Defence on Friday.
The Ministry of Defence, in its statement on Tuesday, said that the Agnipath scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces. It will provide an opportunity to the youth who may be keen to don the uniform by attracting young talent from the society who are more in tune with contemporary technological trends and plough back skilled, disciplined and motivated manpower into the society. It is envisaged that the average age profile of the Indian Armed forces would come down by about 4-5 years by the implementation of this scheme. The nation stands to immensely benefit from the infusion of highly inspired youth with a deeper understanding of self-discipline, diligence and focus who would be adequately skilled and will be able to contribute in other sectors.
This is a major defence policy reform introduced by the Government to usher in a new era in the Human Resource policy of the three Services. The policy, which comes into immediate effect, will hereafter govern the enrolment for the three services.—ANI