As Agnipath protests spiral, Haryana minister Anil Vij says arsonists and vandals won’t be spared

On a day when arson and stone-pelting were reported from various parts of Haryana in connection with protests against the central government’s Agnipath scheme, Home Minister Anil Vij vowed not to spare anyone involved in arson and vandalism.

Talking to reporters, Anil Vij said on Friday, “People have a right to hold peaceful protests in a democratic setup, but arson cannot be tolerated at any cost. These cannot be the people aspiring to become soldiers. People who enter the defence services follow utmost discipline. These are miscreants who are spread out across our country and are always on the lookout for such opportunities to disrupt peace and law and order. Such people can never succeed in their ulterior motives. Strict action shall be taken against all those indulging in arson and vandalism”.

The home minister said police had been instructed to take strict action against “all such miscreants”.

More protests against the short-term military recruitment scheme were reported for the second day from several places including Gurgaon, Faridabad, Palwal, Narnaund (Hisar), Narnaul, Fatehabad, Narwana (Jind) and Rohtak.

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The police said that protesters had torched five government vehicles in Palwal on Thursday following stir against the Agnipath scheme. (Express Photo)

A large number of youths squatted on the tracks at the Narwana railway station blocking the Jind-Bathinda route, while some others burnt tyres in Rohtak even as over 40 youths were rounded up in Faridabad’s Ballabhgarh for pelting stones at vehicles on NH 19.

Internet services were suspended in the morning in Ballabhgarh also, after such restrictions were imposed by the home department in Palwal on Thursday. A company of the Indian Reserve Battalion of police was requisitioned from Rewari to maintain law and order.
The protesters were mainly college students and military aspirants.

The police booked over 1,000 people for the violence in Palwal on Thursday, with two first information reports registered in the Palwal subdivision and another one in the Hodal subdivision. A police spokesperson said, “At least 80 youths have been booked by name while 950 others are yet to be identified. All the accused are being identified from video clippings and CCTV footage. All those identified will soon be subjected to legal action under relevant provisions of the law”.

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