On Thursday, a rioting situation occurred in Bihar’s Jehanabad where young men claiming to protest against the Central Government’s Agnipath scheme indulged in vandalism and arson. Candidates who said they want to apply for the armed forces in Bihar halted a passenger train starting from Patna and created a ruckus at the railway station.
The agitators could also be seen throwing stones at the Police, which were controlled by the action of lathi-charge. In an incident, the mob ran so violently that it set a parked train on fire in Bihar’s Chhapra. Protests have spread widely in Bihar over the confusion over the recruitment process in the Armed Forces among youth in Bihar, Haryana and connected states.
As of now, The situation in Jehanabad remains tense after angered youth are staging violent demonstrations across the city with road and railway traffic left suspended. As reported by News agency ANI, the protestors could be seen giving calls to take back the Agnipath scheme. In the videos that have emerged, it could be seen that tyres were burnt to create unrest in the city.
#WATCH | Youth hold protest in Jehanabad over the recently announced #AgnipathRecruitmentScheme for Armed forces. Rail and road traffic disrupted by the protesting students. pic.twitter.com/iZFGUFkoOU— ANI (@ANI) June 16, 2022
जहानाबाद : सेना की नई भर्ती स्कीम के विरोध में जहानाबाद में छात्रों ने रोकी ट्रेन और सड़क पर टायर जला कर काको मोड़ के पाास किया गुस्से का इजहार। केंद्र सरकार के खिलाफ नारेबाजी जमकर नारेबाजी की।#Jehanabad #AgneepathScheme #BiharNews #BREAKING pic.twitter.com/0hyriWZK45— NBT Bihar (@NBTBihar) June 16, 2022
In a video posted by Journalist Himanshu Singh, Youth could be seen halting a train by climbing over it. The protestors took it to the railway tracks to raise their demands, which have seriously affected the railway timings. In the video, a youth could be seen complaining that while a politician could rule for over five years, why should an Army personnel be restricted only for four years. “Where will we go thereafter?” he asks.
#Bihar: Candidates demonstrated on NH-83 against the new scheme of army recruitment #Agneepath in #Jehanabad.#Students created #ruckus by stopping #Patna–#Gaya passenger #train pic.twitter.com/joO5MwDfjV— Himanshu dixit (@Himansh73485848) June 16, 2022
Besides, this law and order situation has been seriously affected in Bulandshahar, Chhapra, Arrah and Saharsa where students are flocking to the railway stations with sticks and stones with an intent to disrupt the railway traffic.
Widespread Protests and the confusion over the scheme
Ever since the Agnipath scheme was announced by the Central Government, it has been landed in controversy over the recruitment of Jawans in the forces. Aspiring candidates in Bihar have taken to violent protests and agitations to disrupt the law and order in the region.
Protests erupt in Bihar against Agnipath scheme, Army aspirants demand its withdrawal— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) June 16, 2022
Read @ANI Story | https://t.co/BniKN8PVjJ#Bihar #AgnipathRecruitmentScheme #Agnipath #Agniveer pic.twitter.com/VUd5Z0nSmw
While talking to ANI, an agitator from Jehanabad said, “Where will we go after working for only 4 years?… we will be homeless after 4 years of service. So we have jammed the roads; the country’s leaders will now get to know that people are aware,” he added.
The protestors are under the impression that the tenure of army service has been restricted to mere four years, which is not the case. Moreover, mainstream recruitments in the army will not be affected by the additional recruits through the 4-year Agnipath programme which is similar to a ‘tour of duty’ that is operational in the armed forces of several countries worldwide.
It is neither compulsory for the young men in the country to join the Agnipath scheme nor the regular recruitment into the military forces have been affected in any way. So it is clear that the young men running riots in Bihar are either ignorant about the scheme or have been motivated by some political forces to indulge in violent protests.
“Where will we go after working for only 4 years?… we will be homeless after 4 years of service. So we have jammed the roads; the country’s leaders will now get to know that people are aware,” said another protestor in Jehanabad, Bihar#AgnipathRecruitmentScheme pic.twitter.com/fSuvS1iT9n— ANI (@ANI) June 16, 2022
However, the intent of the protesting youth looks dubious as those claiming to serve the country through the armed forces are destroying public infrastructure and amenities, causing loss to the public.
The Agnipath Scheme
On June 14, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, along with the chiefs of three armed forces, launched the Agnipath scheme for the recruitment of youth in the armed forces. Those who get enrolled in the armed forces under this scheme would be called Agniveers. The enrollment under the scheme will be open for both men and women for a four-year period, including the training.
Being an internship-kind of initiative, the Agnipath scheme would allow the patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the armed forces for a short period of four-year. Moreover, 25% of the candidates will be recruited as regular cadres after the end of four years after an exam.
It provides a regular salary for the duration of 4 years and a lumpsum amount of Rs 11.71 lakhs as a Seva Nidhi package that has a portion saved from the salaries, plus an equal amount contributed by the government for the entire period. The salary offered in the scheme is at par with most entry-level jobs for graduates. The scheme only acts as an additional option for those willing to join the Armed Forces and in no way does it hamper the traditional mainstream recruitment process.