The Agnipath scheme was launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh along with the Chiefs of the three armed forces on June 14. This scheme would give an opportunity to the youth of Bharat to fulfill the dream of joining the Armed Forces and serving the nation. The Agnipath scheme would allow the patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the armed forces for a short period of four-year. Those who get enrolled in the armed forces under this scheme would be called Agniveers.
The Agnipath scheme is multi-pronged. It provides the youth of Bharat, not only the opportunity to fulfill their dream of joining the armed forces and give them the opportunity to serve the nation in varied terrain from mountains to desert, on the land sea, or air but also will result in imbibing the military discipline, skill, and physical fitness. The four-year period in the Defence forces would result in confident and better citizens through military training, team-building ethos, and camaraderie, much-needed qualities in today’s society.
Following the launch of the scheme, several parts of the country have witnessed violent protests. The maximum violence was seen in Bihar where the protestors resorted to disrupting rail and road traffic. Bhagalpur-New Delhi Vikramshila Express and Jammu Tawi-Guwahati Express trains were set on fire. In almost every district of Bihar, the protestors damaged trains by either setting the entire train or a few coaches afire demanding a rollback of the Agnipath scheme.
In Bihar’s Darbhanga damaged public property and even a school bus carrying small kids and teachers was attacked by the protestors. A riot-like situation was created in Jehanabad and in Patna a passenger train was halted by the agitators who even threw stones at the police. Even a parked train was set ablaze in Chhapra.
Similar scenes were witnessed in Congress-ruled Rajasthan. “The protestors vandalized the private and public properties in several places including the railway tracks in Bharatpur on the Jaipur-Agra route. The protests erupted in cities like Jodhpur, Jaipur, Sri Ganganagar, Sikar, Nagaur, Kota, and Bharatpur. In Bharatpur, agitators reached the railway station in large numbers and jammed the railway track bringing the railway traffic to a standstill”, reported OpIndia.
Investigations have revealed the pre-planned nature of the agitation. Five fake army aspirants were arrested by the UP (Uttar Pradesh) police on June 18. Among the arrested conspirators was Parag Panwar (26), District President of Congress’ student union NSUI (National Students’ Union of India). Zila Panchayat member and Samajwadi Party’s Sandeep (34) has also been taken into custody by the UP police. The other three have been identified as Mohit Chaudhary (26), Saurabh Kumar (28), and Uday (26).
All the five fake aspirants were above the prescribed age limit and affiliated to different political parties as per the police statement. According to the police, all these accused were “instigating” the youth to “oppose” the Agnipath scheme, a new scheme for recruitment in the Armed Forces. The arrests were made late on Saturday night and officials said that the accused were being interrogated.
This is a deliberate plot to burn the country by inciting ‘protests’. It was not until it was too late that the Bihar government took action. Nitish Kumar is probably trying to corner BJP, however, the price is being paid by the common citizens. It can’t be emphasized enough that the mob turned up well-prepared with sticks and fuel as well as their faces covered.
The inaction and support of the KCR government to the agitators saw violent scenes in Telangana as well. WhatsApp audio messages reveal how the Agnipath protests were systematically planned to set the Secunderabad railway station on fire. The police said that there was clinical planning, rabble-rousing, and mob mobilization. A similar plot was unearthed by the railway police in Visakhapatnam.
Not just political parties but even coaching centres have been instigating violence in the ongoing Agnipath protests. “The institute owners told students that it was a contractual job of four years, and there is no future after that. The second lie they spread was that in the first six months recruits won’t get a salary or might be given only half of it. This angered the students,” said a source. The intelligence agencies fear that the coaching institutes might mislead or provoke more students against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme, and a few such coaching centres are already under the scanner in various states.
Though Delhi didn’t witness massive protests against the Agnipath scheme, the police are keeping a close eye on all activities related to training centres for the youth. “We were warned about farmers who could join hands with students. A few persons who could form organizations to protest but now we are keeping an eye on coaching institutes too though in Delhi there is a lesser chance of it,” said a source.
In Bihar, UP, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh, the role of coaching centres are being probed. State police have been asked to keep a close eye on coaching institutes. In Bihar alone, three coaching centres came on the radar of the police where 23 FIRs were lodged and 147 people were arrested. In UP’s Alipur, the role of the coaching institute has been suspected and four FIRs have been lodged.
In Andhra Pradesh, one Avula Subba Rao, who runs Sai Defence Academy in Narasaraopet, is one of the suspects. He was arrested from his relatives’ place in Khammam. “In all, the candidates belonged to as many as 10 private army coaching institutes. The police said these directors of private institutes allegedly instigated army job aspirants to resort to violence at the Secunderabad railway station”, reported Great Andhra.
Khan sir and Rahman Guru are two other coaching center owners who have come under the scanner for instigating violence against the Agnipath scheme. The institutes run by them were raided by Income Tax officials.
Both Additional Secretary of the Department of Military Affairs Lt Gen Anil Puri and NSA (National Security Advisor) Ajit Doval have said that there is no question of a rollback of the Agnipath scheme.
(With IANS inputs)