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Business News/ News / India/  Agnipath Scheme faces backlash: Protests break out, trains burnt in UP and Bihar

Agnipath Scheme faces backlash: Protests break out, trains burnt in UP and Bihar

Protest break out against Indian army's recruitment scheme, Agnipath, train coaches set on fire in UP and Bihar

Protest break out against Indian Army's recruitment scheme, AgnipathPremium
Protest break out against Indian Army's recruitment scheme, Agnipath

Days after the Indian government announced an overhaul of recruitment for India's 1.38 million-strong armed forces, looking to bring down the average age of personnel and reduce pension expenditure country is witnessing massive protest against the proposal.

Trains were set on fire, railway tracks blocked and protests were witnessed on Thursday against the new military recruitment system. Sanjay Singh, additional director general of police in the eastern state of Bihar, confirmed that protests were seen in dozen locations, "The protesters set fire to a train bogie (coach) in one place. A railway station has also been ransacked.

The new recruitment scheme aims to cut down government's massive salary, pension bills and free up funds for arms procurement. However, the shorter tenure has caused concern among potential recruits.

Former UP Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav, questioned the scheme claiming, “The security of the country is not a short-term or informal issue, it requires a very serious and long-term policy. The negligent attitude that is being adopted regarding military recruitment will prove to be fatal for protecting the future of the country and the youth of the country. There should be no fire on the path from 'Agneepath'."

Agnipath, the new system, is expected to bring in men and women between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 for a four-year tenure, with only a quarter retained for longer periods. Previously, soldiers have been recruited by the army, navy and air force separately and typically enter service for up to 17 years for the lowest ranks.

“When India faces threats on two fronts, the uncalled for Agnipath scheme reduces the operational effectiveness of our armed forces. The BJP govt must stop compromising the dignity, traditions, valour & discipline of our forces," Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

"Where will we go after working for only four years?" one young man, surrounded by fellow protesters in Bihar's Jehanabad district, told ANI. "We will be homeless after four years of service. So we have jammed the roads."

Bihar and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh saw protests over the recruitment process for railway jobs in January this year, underlining India's persistent unemployment problem.

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Published: 16 Jun 2022, 02:16 PM IST
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