Bharat Bandh Call Over ‘Agnipath’ Scheme Today

New Delhi: A day after the service chiefs ruled out rolling back the Agnipath military recruitment scheme and revealed the recruitment timelines, some groups have given a nationwide shutdown call for ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Monday.

More than 10 states witnessed protests against the scheme over the last week. Massive vandalism was reported from several parts of the country last week as trains were torched and demonstrators took to the streets.

A top army officer also gave a warning to demonstrators. “The Indian Army’s foundation lies in discipline. There’s no space for arson or vandalism. Every individual will have to give a certificate they were not part of protests or vandalism. Police verification is mandatory, no one can join without it,” said Lieutenant General Anil Puri, additional secretary, department of military affairs, on Sunday.

In Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, security personnel are alert over the shutdown call. Schools are closed in Jharkhand ahead of the shutdown call. “In the wake of the Bharat Bandh called by certain organizations, all schools in Jharkhand will remain closed tomorrow, June 20. The decision has been taken as a precautionary measure,” secretary of the education department, Rajesh Sharma, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. In Punjab, chief minister Bhagwant Mann urged the government to roll back the scheme after demonstrators resorted to violence at the railway station in Ludhiana

In Faridabad, Haryana, bordering Delhi, cops have warned the demonstrators. “Videography will be done in view of the possibility of activities of anti-social elements during the bandh. If the road is jammed or blocked at any place, then in coordination with the concerned supervising officer or station manager, or duty magistrate, the obstacle will be removed by talking to the people involved in the strike. No one will be allowed to take the law in hand,” police spokesperson Sube Singh told ANI.

Noida has barred gatherings under CrPc Section 144. More than 200 arrests have been reportedly made after the Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida saw violent protests last week. “It is to remind everyone that CrPC section 144 is already imposed in Gautam Buddh Nagar commissionerate. FIR would be registered against any person found engaged in activities in violation of law and strict action would be taken against them,” the Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida.

Meanwhile, a team of Congress leaders is set to meet President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday.

Agnipath, the recruitment scheme for enrolling soldiers, airmen and sailors – provides an opportunity for the youth to serve in the regular cadre of the armed forces. All those recruited under the Agnipath Scheme will be called ‘Agniveers’. Agniveers will be enrolled for a service duration of 4 years including the training period. After four years, 25 per cent of the recruits will be retained or re-enlisted in the regular cadre based on merit, willingness and medical fitness.

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