A look at the top updates on protests against the Agnipath scheme:
- Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who is hospitalised due to post-Covid-19 complications, on Saturday issued an appeal to those protesting against the Agnipath recruitment scheme to adopt peaceful and non-violent means to fight for their demands. She said the scheme is “directionless” and that her party stands will work for its withdrawal.
- A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team into the violent protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme, PTI reported. The plea has been filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari, who also sought directions to the Centre and Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan governments to submit a status report on the protests.
- Several protestors vandalised the Ludhiana railway station during their protests on Saturday morning, The Indian Express reported. The police said that most of the protesters had their faces covered. They damaged the ticket counters at the station and broke window panes, the police added.
- The Centre on Saturday announced a 10% reservation for Agnipath recruits in the jobs offered by the home and defence ministry. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the reservation will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard and defence civilian posts, and all the 16 defence Public Sector Undertakings. On the other hand, the home ministry said the reservation would be in the Central Armed Police Forces and the Assam Rifles paramilitary force.
- In Bihar, a 24-hour strike is being observed in protest against the Agnipath scheme, according to NDTV. The strike was called by several student associations in Bihar, led by the All India Students’ Association, which is affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation. The Rashtriya Janata Dal, along with its alliance partners, have supported it.
- The Uttar Pradesh Police have filed six first information reports and arrested 260 persons in connection with the violent protests on Friday against the short-term recruitment scheme for the armed forces, ANI reported. The cases have been registered in the Firozabad, Aligarh, Varanasi and Gautam Buddh Nagar districts. Twenty-three persons have been held and more than 1,000 booked in Palwal city of Haryana, according to The Tribune. A case has also been registered in Secunderabad where one person died during the protests.
- Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have to apologise for announcing the Agnipath scheme and withdraw it. “Earlier too, I had predicted that the prime minister will have to take back the [three] farm laws,” Gandhi wrote in a tweet.
- Indian Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar on Friday said he had not anticipated such protests against the scheme. He said that the protests were taking place due to “misinformation and misunderstanding”. Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VK Chaudhari and his Army counterpart General Manoj Pande also insisted that the scheme would be beneficial for those aspiring to get jobs in the armed forces. They also said that recruitment under the scheme will be notified in the next few days.
- The protesters attempted to attack the Warangal railway station in Telangana during the funeral of Damira Rakesh, who was killed in police firing at the Secunderabad railway station. State Congress chief A Revanth Reddy, who was travelling to participate in Rakesh’s funeral, was also arrested near Ghatkesar, according to The Indian Express.
- On Friday, at least five trains and several buses were set on fire in parts of the country. The home of Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi was attacked and a Bharatiya Janata Party office was set ablaze in the state’s Madhepura city. The Bihar government suspended internet services in twelve districts till June 19 to bring the violence under control.
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