As young ‘army aspirants’ went on a rampage in various parts of the country on June 17 over the recently announced Agnipath recruitment plan, a report by TOI reveals a complex strategy, allegedly pre-planned on WhatsApp, to foment violence and vandalism at the Secundrabad railway station under the guise of protests. Several audio messages have surfaced revealing that the violent protest against the central government’s Agnipath Recruitment Scheme at Secundrabad railway station was not spontaneous but pre-planned.
On June 17, in the Southern State of Telangana, ‘students’, dissatisfied with the Agnipath recruitment scheme, vandalised the Secunderabad railway station and set a train on fire. Visuals shared by news agency ANI showed an abandoned station, with smoke gushing out of a stationary train.
The frenzied mob also damaged shops belonging to small business owners, which were located at the station. One youth died, another is critical, and several others were injured after Telangana police were forced to open fire to quell the frantic mob.
#WATCH | Telangana: Efforts are underway to douse the fire on a train which was set ablaze at Secunderabad railway station by agitators who are protesting against #AgnipathRecruitmentScheme pic.twitter.com/H2zkjKsjqT— ANI (@ANI) June 17, 2022
Now, according to TOI, it has obtained audio messages that affirm that the protestors, who unleashed mayhem in the Secundrabad railway station on Friday, had clinically planned the attack. The news agency shared a message found on the mobile phone of one of the protestors that buttresses the conspiracy angle.
“When are you coming tomorrow to Secunderabad railway station? Come armed with petrol, tyres and old clothes. We will not find these at the railway station. So, if you bring these along, we can torch vehicles and trains and disrupt railway services,” read the message.
Another message circulating amongst protestors read, “It’s high time to stand up for your rights. Don’t give up the fight. Boycott TOD, conduct old recruitments..Chalo Vizag ARO.”
In yet another clip accessed by TOI a man is heard saying, The lion has arrived, now do what you can.
The report suggests that some protesters were allegedly assisted by tutors, who coached them for their entrance exams.
Meanwhile, a police officer was also quoted by the news agency as saying, “The conspiracy to strike Secunderabad railway station was hatched on Thursday and protesters were mobilised. A preliminary probe confirmed this.”
He further informed that some of the primary organisers founded Whatsapp groups such as Justice for Army CEE and Hakimpet Army Soldier. Police are using WhatsApp phone records to try to track down the perpetrators.
“At least 200 protesters boarded the Krishna Express to reach Secunderabad at 6 am. We have accessed multiple audio clips with appeals to carry petrol and set ablaze public property,” said the cop.
Violence against Agnipath scheme continued in several parts of the country
On June 17, mobs of people claiming to be armed forces aspirants took to the streets and destroyed public property under the pretext of ‘peaceful protests’ and demonstrations. While demanding a rollback of the government scheme, they vandalised public property, burnt trains and brought life to a standstill across the various Indian states.
While a school bus carrying small kids and teachers was attacked in Darbhanga in Bihar, in UP’s Mathura, the so-called young protestors hurled stones at an old couple passing through the road. Another video had gone going viral over the internet in which some protestors could be seen saying that if the government doesn’t repeal the scheme, they will become terrorists instead of joining the army.
Several trains were set ablaze at various stations by the anti-Agnipath scheme protestors, resulting in the cancellation of large number of trains across the nation. Railway stations at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, Samastipur and Aarah in Bihar, and Secunderabad in Telangana were attacked and trains were set ablaze by the rioting ‘youth.’ The East Coast Express was attacked and its coaches were set ablaze at Secunderabad Railway Station. Similarly, several coaches of the Jammu Tawi-Guwahati was burnt in Samastipur. Petrol bombs were also hurled in the vicinity, endangering the lives of individuals, particularly children, who were already terrified by the violence.
WhatsApp chats reveal a plot to stoke violence in Kanpur over the central govt’s Army recruitment scheme
Earlier in the day, another report emerged suggesting that much as the vandalism at Secunderabad railway station was pre-planned, a complete strategy to provoke rioting and vandalism in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh was also plotted on Whatsapp.
The Whatsapp messages, as accessed by the Times Now, revealed a plan devised by the rioters to torch a police station. “Chalo chowki phoonk dete hain (let’s burn down the police station),” read one of the messages of the WhatsApp group, demonstrating how social media and chat apps are used by rioters to mobilise support and plan for violence in the name of protest against the Agnipath scheme. The WhatsApp group wherein these kinds of inflammatory messages were circulated was named ‘Boycott TOD.’
The UP police are now probing if the violence that broke out in Kanpur over the Agnipath recruitment scheme was a part of the “larger conspiracy” by the rioters to throw the city into chaos, as the Whatsapp chats suggest that the vandalism and violence may have been planned in advance.