Train stations, highways turn into battleground amid protests; 1 dead in Telangana

Police lathi-charge people protesting against Centre’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme, in Haldwani, Friday, June 17, 2022. (PTI)

A youngster died and several others were injured after shots were fired on hundreds of protesters at Secunderabad railway station on Friday morning as agitations against the Centre’s new Agnipath scheme for recruiting soldiers across the three services escalated into large-scale violence and arson. In Bihar, internet services were temporarily suspended in 12 districts — Kaimer, Bhojpur, Aurangabad, Rohtas, Buxer, Nawada, West Champaran, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Vaishali and Saran districts till June 19, after protesters there turned violent and targeted the houses of Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi and Bihar BJP president and West Champaran MP Dr Sanjay Jaiwwal.

Railway services were disrupted across the country as protesters blocked tracks and set train coaches ablaze in several states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Telangana.  Anticipating violence in the state, the Haryana government has suspended internet services in Faridabad district’s Ballabgarh, whereas prohibitory orders under Section 144, restricting gathering of more than four persons, have been imposed in Gurgaon, the police said.

Congress leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Friday hit out at the Centre over the Agnipath scheme. Rahul Gandhi tweeted that Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi does not understand what the country wants, listing out initiatives by the central government that were “rejected” by the people. “He can’t hear anything except the voice of his ‘friends’,” Rahul said. Meanwhile, Priyanka asked PM Modi to withdraw the scheme immediately. She added that the government had changed its rules for the Agnipath recruitment plan in less than 24 hours, indicating that it is being imposed on the youth in a hurry.

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