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Agnipath Protests In Bihar; Army Aspirants Voice Concern About Job Security, Pensions

A large troop of army aspirants expressed their rage by throwing burning tyres on the streets, adjacent to ‘Chakkar Maidan’, where they showed up in huge numbers for physical tests, which have to be taken by them for recruitment

Photo Credit : Indian Army

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On Wednesday, army aspirants caused inconvenience by obstructing vehicles and the railways, creating traffic havoc. The disorder was caused in the state by the ‘Agnipath’ scheme, which proposed the recruitment of soldiers on the basis of a four-year contract followed by mandatory retirement without recompense or pension benefits.

More than 100 young men hunched on the tracks of Buxar railway station, stopping the Patna-bound Janshatabdi Express for nearly 30 minutes. Their slogans denounced the scheme, announced by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh the previous day, but protests were halted after the arrival of government railway police, Station House Officer Ramashish Prasad and Railway Protection Force inspector Deepak Kumar, who stopped the demonstration.

The reports published by the regional media stated that the aspirants actually displayed their opposition by throwing stones at the Patliputra Express, which passed through the station. But later, when asked, Kumar and Prasad disapproved of such an occurrence.

A large troop of army aspirants expressed their rage by throwing burning tyres on the streets, adjacent to ‘Chakkar Maidan’, where they showed up in huge numbers for physical tests, which have to be taken by them for recruitment.

They complained that the new job rules, which have come up after two years of service by the armed forces, are extremely frustrating as most of them have successfully passed the physical tests. Most of them also walked towards the Collectorate and submitted a memo to the District Magistrate. At Mahadev Chowk in Begusarai, army aspirants, including many NCC youths, staged a demonstration with a banner stating they wanted the Agnipath scheme to be rolled back.

Tejashwi Yadav, an opposition leader, tweeted several tweets regarding the scepticism about the move, which has been boastfully promoted by Narendra Modi at the Centre. The RJD leader said that he feared ‘Agnipath’ would be used to eliminate constitutionally mandated reservation benefits, like contractual hiring in the railways and "lateral entry" in other departments.

The former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister also alleged that the BJP and Sangh Parivar might utilise the scheme to provide weapons training to their hate-filled supporters and fringe elements on the taxpayer's dime. He commented that many people with military training will be left with no jobs at a very young age. He questioned the Centre by interrogating whether it would lead to major disorder in the country.

Rhetorically, he also asked if the government expects the young men that are recruited under this scheme to be security personnel for major capitalists friendly to the BJP for the rest of their lives. 

As a further jab at Prime Minister Modi, he asked if the government's promise of 10 lakh jobs was taken into consideration when 19 lakh jobs were promised in Bihar ahead of the 2020 assembly elections. 


(With PTI inputs)


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