Protests spread to other states when violence erupted in Bihar over the ‘Agnipath’ scheme.


Protests spread to other states when violence erupted in Bihar over the ‘Agnipath’ scheme.

Protests spread to other states when violence erupted in Bihar over the ‘Agnipath’ scheme.



For the second day in a row, protests against Agnipath, a radical recruitment scheme for the armed forces, became violent as Army aspirants stopped train and road traffic in several parts of Bihar. Baton-wielding rioters damaged the intercity express train’s glass windows and set one coach on fire at Bhabhua Road railway station. They held a banner that read “Indian Army Lovers” and shouted chants opposing the new recruitment policy.

To disperse a large gathering of protestors who threw stones at police at Arrah’s railway station, police had to use tear gas shells. Rail workers were seen using fire extinguishers to put out a fire started by demonstrators who threw furniture on the rails and lit it a blaze.

Students flung stones at police officers in Jehanabad, wounding many individuals, including cops who chased them away from the railway tracks where they had camped to impede rail operations. The police and protesting students pelted stones at one other in dramatic pictures from the railway station. To frighten the protestors away, the cops pointed their rifles at them.

In Nawada, a group of young men set fire to tyres at a public crossing and chanted slogans calling for the tour of duty plan to be repealed. They also burned tyres on the railway tracks at Nawada station and blocked the tracks. Images from the scene show a large throng destroying railway property and hurling expletives at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Many people can be seen doing pushups on the train rails while cops use a handheld public address system to plead for calm.

The tour of duty system, Agnipath, advocates the contractual enlistment of jawans for a four-year period, followed by compulsory retirement for the majority of them without gratuity or pension benefits. The government’s hefty pay and pension expenditures will be reduced as a result of the new recruitment plan, which will free up funds for arms procurement.

When police tried to force them away to prevent rail traffic disturbance in Saharsa, students gathered to the station and threw stones at them.

In Chapra, violent mobs were spotted wielding hefty wooden sticks and trashing state highways buses in protest.

Protests have also been recorded in portions of Uttar Pradesh’s neighbouring state.

Protests erupted yesterday in Muzaffarpur and Buxar, Bihar, with protestors wondering what they would do after four years.

Around 45,000 people between the ages of 17.5 and 21 will be admitted into the Agnipath scheme for a four-year period. They will be paid a monthly salary of Rs 30,000-40,000 plus allowances throughout this time. They will be eligible for medical and insurance benefits as well.

Only 25% of these troops will be retained after four years, and they will serve for a total of 15 years in non-officer ranks. The remaining employees will be paid between Rs 11 lakh and Rs 12 lakh when they leave the service, but they will not be eligible for pension benefits.

Youths between the ages of 16.5 and 21 were recruited for a minimum of 15 years of service and received a pension after retirement under the former system.

The new policy has been met with criticism and inquiries from a variety of sources, including veterans. Critics argue that a four-year term will dampen the ranks’ fighting spirit and make them risk-averse.

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