Shocking WhatsApp chats accessed by Republic show that there may have been a conspiracy to vandalise public property in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur over the 'Agnipath' military scheme that was launched by the government earlier this week.
In the WhatsApp group named 'boycott TOD', a conspirator was seen to ask "Who will take responsibility for gathering people in Naubasta Hamirpur road" to which a person replied "no" while another said, "I will."
A person said, "Rmaamdevi ki chauki fook dete hain." (Let's burn Ramadevi police station). Astonishingly, the latter person said that it would be targeted after Hamirpur road.
Four people have been arrested by the police. Three of them have been identified, including the WhatsApp group's admin.
"The arrested people are with us. The people who took part in the conversation have been identified. We appeal to students to not take part in these types of activities. We will do a proper investigation," said Kanpur Joint Police Commissioner Anand Prakash Tiwari.
Demonstrators on June 17 blocked the Kanpur-Jhansi highway in protest against the 'Agnipath' recruitment scheme. Hundreds of youths also stopped a train at Lalpur station in Kanpur Dehat.
Violent protests were also reported in other parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Haryana.
On June 14, the government announced the Agnipath scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. Youths recruited under this scheme will be known as Agniveers and will serve in the forces for a term of four years.
The scheme was announced by the government in an effort to bring a change in the enrollment process of the soldiers. As the move to implement the new military recruitment model faced backlash from the opposition, the Centre increased the upper age limit to 23 years from 21 years for the 2022 recruitment.
The government clarified that the future of the Agniveers is stable and published myths and facts on some of the concerns around the issue which has led to the protests.