High Alert, Bharat Bandh Over 'Agnipath'

The opposition kept up the pressure on the government, demanding that the ‘Agnipath’ initiative be scrapped immediately.

New Delhi: With the government refusing to back down on the ‘Agnipath’ military recruiting scheme, certain organisations have called for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Monday in response to the continuous protests calling for the plan to be scrapped.

Over 500 trains have been cancelled today as a result of the Bharat Bandh call in some regions of the country in protest of the government’s ‘Agnipath’ short-term armed forces recruiting strategy. Over the last five days, the railways have experienced a significant loss of property owing to arson and violence by demonstrators.

As the police have strengthened security across the city and its adjoining districts, traffic bottlenecks have occurred in several parts of Delhi. There were massive traffic congestion on the Delhi-Noida Direct Flyway as well as the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. The police have warned that anyone who attempts to disrupt the law and order situation would face severe consequences.

Congress leaders staged a ‘Satyagraha’ at Jantar Mantar in the national capital to show support for armed military candidates challenging the ‘Agnipath’ plan. Several organisations will organise a unified movement at the protest site, according to Delhi Minister Gopal Rai.

A group of armed services hopefuls in Haryana blocked the Lal Batti Chowk in Fatehabad, while others protested on Rohtak district roadways. To avoid any untoward incidents, security has been increased in numerous areas in Kerala, Telangana, West Bengal, and Rajasthan. Prohibitory orders have been issued in Faridabad and Noida, prohibiting gatherings of four or more people.

The Uttar Pradesh Police Department has stated that anyone found to be involved in jeopardising the peace will face severe consequences. The police in Punjab have been urged to keep an eye on the actions of social media organisations that are reportedly mobilising or distributing false information about the plan.

The Bihar government has beefed up security at vulnerable party headquarters. Internet access is currently unavailable in 20 districts. All schools in Jharkhand will be closed today due to protests against the ‘Agnipath’ scheme.

Since Wednesday, protests have erupted in numerous states against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme, which involves the enlistment of troops aged 17.5 to 21 into the armed services for a four-year period, followed by involuntary retirement for the majority of them without gratuity or pension benefits.

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