Patna (Bihar) [India]: Amid the protests against the new recruitment programme in the Defence Forces in Bihar, Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishor Prasad on Thursday (June 16) said that the youth have not understood the Agnipath scheme properly and urged them to withdraw their protest as the other methods of recruitment have not been scrapped.
At least three trains were set on fire in Bihar as protests grew against the Centre’s Agnipath recruitment scheme in Chhapra, Gopalganj and Kaimur districts on Thursday.
Speaking to ANI, Prasad said, “It is an ambitious scheme of the Central government aiming to provide job opportunities. The other methods of recruitment have not been scrapped. I think the youths have not been able to understand the scheme properly or are confused. Both the State and Centre are serious about their induction into this. I request them to take back protest & try to understand positive aspects of the scheme.”
Several aspirants for the armed forces are unhappy with the changes introduced under the new recruitment scheme for the Indian Army, particularly the length of service, no pension provisions for those released early, and the 17.5 to 21-year age restriction that now makes many of them ineligible.
Agitations spilt over to several districts as youths protested by lying down on the railway tracks, and blocking roads, demanding the scrapping of the scheme.
“They are protesting on the railway tracks. We are trying to pacify them. We are making an effort to clear the railway track. We are monitoring the situation,” Rakesh Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Kaimur, told reporters.
Huge crowds gathered in the Chhapra, Jehanabad, Munger and Nawada areas of Bihar, demanding the withdrawal of the Agnipath scheme. A group of army aspirants protested at Bhabua Road Railway Station and blocked the tracks before setting a train on fire.
“We prepared for a long and now they have brought ToD (Tour of Duty) as a four-year job. We want the old recruitment process back,” protesters said.
The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the Agnipath recruitment scheme, which provides an opportunity for Indian youth to serve in the regular cadre of the Armed Forces for a period of four years.
Agnipath scheme aims to make the Army a future-ready fighting force capable of meeting multiple challenges across the full spectrum of conflict, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande said on Tuesday. (ANI)