Angry crowds go on rampage against new military recruitment system in India

Photo Credit: Reuters

Railway stations attacked, trains set ablaze in protests that started from Bihar have spread to 7 Indian states.

Protests against a new military recruitment system in India turned violent when angry students and youths attacked railway stations and set many trains ablaze on Thursday.

Under the new recruitment system announced by the government on Tuesday, youths between the ages of 17.5 and 21 will get an opportunity to serve in the army for four years. But after four years, only 25% of them will be retained. This means only 25 out of 100 candidates will get a permanent job in the army.

Students protesting in states including Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Assam blocked roads and clashed with police. Chanting slogans against the government, the protesters said the government wanted to reduce its pension expenditure. The demonstrations also spread to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh states.

The protesters attacked a railway station in Bihar, demanding the government bring the old system back.

Another railway station in Gwalior in the central state of Madhya Pradesh was also attacked by angry protesters.

“Two years ago, I qualified for the medical part of the army recruitment process. Then the exam was put on hold. But now they (authorities) are canceling the exam and bringing in a new scheme,” Alok Prakash, a student in Jaipur, told Anadolu Agency.

Maj. Gen. (Retd) GD Bakshi also opposed this move, tweeting: “Was flabbergasted by the Agnipath scheme. I initially thought it was a trial being done on a pilot basis. This is an across-the-board change to convert the Indian armed forces to a short tenure quasi-conscript force Like the Chinese. For God’s sake please don’t do it.”

-AA

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