Prohibitory orders were imposed in various districts across the country to contain widespread protests against the Union government’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme on Friday.

The protests are happening for the third consecutive day. Aspirants for jobs in the Armed forces torched trains in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar demanding the Centre to scrap the new recruitment policy which the government calls ‘transformative.’

In Telangana, protesters attacked a train and vandalised shops in Secunderabad railway station. Prohibitory orders have been issued in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, Palwal in Haryana to control the protests.

Quoting Railway Ministry, ANI said, “Coaches of 3 running trains in ECR plus one empty rake in Kulharia (ECR) (Bihar), one stabled coach in washing line in Ballia (UP). This is damage to rolling stocks so far. Damages to fixed assets difficult to be assessed & compiled so early.”
From Bihar’s Ara to Haryana’s Palwal, from Agra in Uttar Pradesh to Gwalior and Indore in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, hundreds of young aspirants for jobs in the armed forces took to the streets, pouring their anger on public and private property. Over 34 trains were cancelled and eight more partially cancelled on Thursday due to the protests.

Bihar bore the brunt of the violence with trains set ablaze, window panes of buses smashed and passersby, including a ruling BJP MLA, pelted with stones on Thursday, the second day of the protest against the scheme. Police fired teargas shells and used baton to break up protests by angry youngsters who blocked railway tracks.

Considering widespread protests, the Defence Ministry announced a one-time waiver in the upper age limit of recruits and increased it to 23 years from 21. “Cognizant of the fact that it has not been possible to undertake the recruitment during the last two years, the government has decided that a one-time waiver shall be granted for the proposed recruitment cycle for 2022,” the defence ministry said.

Political parties reacted along partisan lines with the Opposition stepping up its attack on the government and demanding that the scheme be scrapped.

(With inputs from PTI)

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