On June 16, 22-year-old Patna-based Army aspirant Michael was at a friend’s house when he learnt of the Agnipath protests on the news. Hundreds of youth, some of whom he knew personally, were out on the streets, raising slogans and blocking roads and rail tracks. Soon, he himself was on the streets.
The Centre’s new Agnipath scheme for recruitment to the armed forces unleashed a wave of violence, vandalism and protests across several states in the country. Bihar, with a high number of defence job aspirants, was one of the worst-hit. From June 16 to June 22, trains were burnt, railway lines obstructed, effigies set on fire and roads blocked, as angry protesters clashed with police.