In a shocking incident, a school bus with children on board got stuck in the middle of the road during a blockade in Bihar's Darbhanga by an unruly crowd protesting against the Central government's Agnipath Scheme. In visuals obtained by Republic TV, school children, aged between 5 and 6 years, are seen crying after being stranded in the middle of the agitation. Later, after police intervention, the bus managed to get out of the blockade.
Notably, several police vehicles were torched, roadways and buses were damaged in stone-pelting and road blockades continued.
#WATCH | Bihar: A school bus, with children on board, got stuck in the road blockade by agitators in Darbhanga. The bus later managed to get out of the blockade with Police intervention.— ANI (@ANI) June 17, 2022
The agitators were protesting against the #AgnipathRecruitmentScheme pic.twitter.com/E8lFLk9leD
Agitations, fuelled by misinformation, spilt over to several districts in Bihar as youths protested by lying down on railway tracks and blocking roads, demanding the scrapping of the Agnipath scheme. Huge crowds gathered in the Bihar's Chhapra, Jehanabad, Munger, and Nawada, demanding the withdrawal of the army recruiting programme. A group of army aspirants protested at Bhabua Road Railway Station and blocked the tracks before setting a train on fire.
Despite the government allaying all fears concerning the Agnipath scheme, aggressive protests, caused by widespread misinformation, were witnessed across states on Friday, with youth demanding a complete rollback of the Army recruitment programme. Incidents of violence, vandalism, torching of railway trains, stone-pelting, and attacks on police personnel were seen in several parts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Telangana.
Many Army aspirants are unhappy with the changes introduced under the new recruitment scheme, particularly the length of service, no pension provisions, and the age restriction that makes many of them ineligible. The protests continued for the third straight day, despite the Centre extending the upper age limit for recruitment of Agniveers from 21 years to 23 years.
Under the Agnipath recruitment scheme, Agniveers would be recruited for four-year tenures in all the cadre - Army, Air force, Navy. Under this scheme, almost 46,000 youth will be recruited in 2022 and the number of recruits will go up by 5,000 every year. Soldiers will be getting a monthly salary of around Rs 30,000-40,000. The recruitment is scheduled to begin in 90 days and beneficiaries will also be entitled to awards, medals, and insurance.
Under the scheme, the first four years will not be taken into consideration for fixing the final pensionary benefits. After 4 years, 25% will be retained or re-enlisted in the regular cadre based on merit, willingness, and medical fitness. The remaining 75% will be eligible for ‘Seva Nidhi’ packages of Rs 11-12 lakh and will be provided skill certificates and bank loans for their second career.