Bihar: 250 arrested, 189 trains cancelled as Agnipath protests rage on

Over 180 trains were cancelled and six were terminated on Saturday due to prevailing law and order problem and threat perception to railway property and passengers in Bihar as violence and arson marked the fourth consecutive day of protests against the Agnipath recruitment scheme for the armed forces.

According to East Central Railway (ECR) Chief Public Relations Officer Virendra Kumar, 189 trains were cancelled during the day while six were short terminated.

“As a precautionary measure, plying of trains originating in other zones will remain suspended till 2000 hours,” news agency PTI quoted him as saying. “The restrictions will be re-imposed between 0400 hours and 2000 hours on Sunday to ensure safety and security of passengers and railway property.”

A train coach was set ablaze in Gaya on Saturday. However, no passenger on board the train was injured and the affected compartment was decoupled quickly, said the ECR zone. Arsonists also struck Taregana railway station in Masaurhi sub-division of Patna district where they set fire to a four-wheeler used by the police.

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Meanwhile, Bihar witnessed a 24-hour bandh after several student associations in the state, led by the All India Students’ Association (AISA), called for the strike to protest against the scheme.

The RJD-led alliance has supported the bandh. Agitators torched vehicles parked on the premises of a police outpost in Jehanabad district, officials said. A large number of protesters gathered outside Tehta police outpost around 8.30 AM and started pelting security personnel with stones. Later, they set several vehicles, including a bus and a truck, on fire, they said.

Police arrested a total of 250 people across the state during the day and lodged 25 FIRs, taking the total number of arrests since Thursday up to 718.

According to a police statement, more people would be rounded up after they are identified in a thorough examination of CCTV footage and videography done at various places.

On Friday morning, aspirants torched six compartments of a train at Moihuddin Nagar in Samastipur, and two coaches of another train at Lakhisarai station. In both the incidents, no one was hurt as the protesters emptied the coaches before setting them ablaze. However, over half-a-dozen trains are delayed on the Patna-Howrah and Patna-Bhagalpur routes.

The protesters also blocked railway traffic at Bihiya station near Ara and Lakhisarai. The protesting students also staged peaceful agitations at Muzaffarpur carrying national flags.

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