Protests against Agnipath, a radical recruitment plan for the armed forces, turned violent today as Army aspirants disrupted rail and road traffic in several parts of Bihar for the second consecutive day. Trains were set afire, rail and road traffic disrupted, window panes of buses smashed, and passersby, including a ruling BJP MLA, pelted with stones by angry youth demanding the withdrawal of the new short-term recruitment scheme. Violent protests have now spread to multiple states across the country. Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have also reported violent protests.
Phone internet and SMS services have been suspended for 24 hours in Haryana’s Palwal district following stone-pelting and violence by Army aspirants. Police had to resort to aerial firing after a mob attacked them and set their vehicles on fire.
Due to demonstrations and vandalism at several railway stations, 22 trains from Bihar had to be cancelled and five had to stop after completing partial journeys, East Central Railway said.
Baton-wielding protestors smashed glass windows of the intercity express train at Bihar’s Bhabhua Road railway station and set one coach on fire. Holding a banner saying “Indian Army lovers,” they raised slogans rejecting the new recruitment scheme.
In Nawada, the vehicle of BJP MLA Aruna Devi, who was on her way to a court, was attacked by the agitators who hurled stones at her car, leaving five persons, including the legislator, injured. The BJP office in Nawada was also vandalised.