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Protests against Agnipath scheme continue; several trains affected

In Saharsa, a large number of youth holding batons took to the streets and forced traders to close the shutters of their shops.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Violent protests against the Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the armed forces continued for the fourth consecutive day today in several parts of the country affecting over 200 trains. In Bihar, train services were stopped till 8 pm today.

The train services will be suspended again in the state from tomorrow from 4 am- 8 pm due to the ongoing protests.

Meanwhile, students’ organisations in Bihar, led by the All India Students’ Association, have called a 24-hour “Bihar bandh” today demanding an immediate rollback of the new recruitment scheme in the military was launched this week by the government.

RJD has lent its support to the bandh call and former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manji whose Hindustan Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S) is an ally of the BJP said that while his party did not support the violence it would supportthe Bihar bandh calls in the interest of the youth.

Amid the call for ”Bihar Bandh” against the scheme, incidents of violence continued across several districts on Saturday. Protesters demanded a rollback of the scheme. The protesters pelted stones at the police team in Jamui.

Earlier, violent agitators set 4 vehicles on fire in Jahanabad. Over one thousand protesters with sticks in hand and chanting Jai Shri Ram in Katihar marched on the streets.

In Saharsa, a large number of youth holding batons took to the streets and forced traders to close the shutters of their shops. Meanwhile, Patna police deployed force and RAF Jawans in and outside the BJP office located on Beer Chand Patel Path. In the last four days, the properties of BJP leaders and officers are being targeted by violent agitators.

The violent anti-Agnipath protest at Secunderabad railway station on Friday and fears of similar protests at major railway stations in Andhra Pradesh led to the cancellation of several trains. Meanwhile, security has been beefed at Guntur Railway station with police force deployed in large numbers in view of the anti-Agnipath protests across the country. According to the police, around 200 suspects have been taken into preventive custody.

Guntur Superintendent of Police Arif Hafiz said, “Heavy police have been deployed at the Guntur Railway station. In the wake of the Agneepath Scheme, some youths are protesting in Secunderabad, Bihar, and other places across the country. To avoid any such incident at the ARO, we have taken precautionary measures at the Guntur Railway station.
So the DSPs, CI, SI, Constable and others are deployed to maintain law and order situation in Guntur.”

Andhra Pradesh Police on Saturday detained a man named Subba Rao who ran Army training centers in Palnadu district on the suspicion that he is the conspirator in Thursday’s arson at Secunderabad Railway station in Telangana, said the police.He will further be handed over to Railway Police, added the police. 

Earlier on Friday, Police arrested more than 100 protestors accused of involvement in arson at Secunderabad railway station, said sources. An FIR was registered by Railway police against protestors who torched vehicles, as per the sources. Earlier on Friday, Railway Police registered a case against protestors who set a train on fire and damaged railway property in Telangana’s Secunderabad during a protest against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme.

Around 1500 to 3000 people protested. They held stone-pelting also in which some police personnel got injured, said the police. Agitators had vandalised the Secunderabad Railway Station and set a train ablaze during a protest against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme on Friday.

The protestors had vandalised the windows of a train and torched a two-wheeler on tracks and a few bags on the platform. Protestors had also vandalised a TSRTC bus at Secunderabad bus station. Telangana Police had resorted to aerial firing to disperse the angry crowd at the railway station.