Bharat Bandh call: The Agnipath protests have scaled up despite assurances from the government.
Here are ten points on the Agniveer recruitment scheme and the Bharat Bandh call:
- The security personnel in several states – including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab – are alert over the shutdown call. Massive vandalism was reported from several parts of the country last week as trains were torched and demonstrators took to streets over the recruitment plan unveiled by defence minister Rajnath Singh on June 14. More than 1,000 people have been arrested and most of these arrests are from Bihar.
- Schools are closed in Jharkhand ahead of the shutdown call. “In the wake of the Bharat Bandh called by certain organizations, all schools in Jharkhand will remain closed tomorrow, June 20. The decision has been taken as a precautionary measure,” secretary of the education department, Rajesh Sharma, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
- Punjab too remains alert after the Ludhiana railway station on Saturday saw demonstrators resorting to violence. Meanwhile, chief minister Bhagwant Mann has been urging the government to roll back the scheme while criticising the plan.
- In Haryana’s Faridabad, which borders Delhi, cops have warned the demonstrators . “Videography will be done in view of the possibility of activities of anti-social elements during the bandh. If the road is jammed or blocked at any place, then in coordination with the concerned supervising officer or station manager, or duty magistrate, the obstacle will be removed by talking to the people involved in the strike. No one will be allowed to take the law in hand,” police spokesperson Sube Singh told ANI.
- Noida in Uttar Pradesh, which is also close to the national capital, has barred gatherings under CrPc Section 144. More than 200 arrests have been reportedly made after the Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida saw violent protests last week. “It is to remind everyone that CrPC section 144 is already imposed in Gautam Buddh Nagar commissionerate. FIR would be registered against any person found engaged in activities in violation of law and strict action would be taken against them,”the Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida.
- More than 400 trains were reportedly affected during the agitations. Dozens of trains had to be cancelled and many had to be diverted as train stations were targeted during the protests.
- Defence minister Rajnath Singh chaired meetings with service chiefs over the weekend to hold discussions amid the Agnipath stir.
- The service chiefs on Sunday highlighted that the scheme was in works and intense deliberations were carried out.
- Opposition has been attacking the government over the demonstrations, saying the anger was due to the delayed army recruitments due to coronavirus.
- Agnipath – the recruitment scheme for enrolling soldiers, airmen and sailors – provides an opportunity for the youth to serve in the regular cadre of the armed forces. All those recruited under the Agnipath Scheme will be called ‘Agniveers‘. Agniveers will be enrolled for a service duration of 4 years including the training period. After four years, 25 per cent of the recruits will be retained or re-enlisted in the regular cadre based on merit, willingness and medical fitness.