Protests against 'Agnipath' rocked Jammu city on Monday with the Congress, the AAP and some other organisations demanding the government to revoke the military recruitment scheme, prompting police to detain several members for blocking highways, officials said. In view of Bharat Bandh observed in parts of the country, the police tightened security across the city and warned of strict action against those trying to disrupt the law and order situation. Led by Uday Chib, hundreds of youth Congress activists assembled in the city and took out a protest rally against Agnipath but were stopped by the police. Over a dozen activists, including Chib, were detained by the police.
In another protest, the AAP activists took out a rally in Jewel Chowk area and they too were detained. Lashing out at the government, Chib alleged that the scheme aimed to destroy the future of the Indian youths who aspired to be in the armed forces and demanded its revocation. "It is not only playing with the future of the youths by offering them a four-year job policy, but also an insult to the institution of the armed forces and lowering its standards", Chib said. The AAP activists too raised anti-government slogans and demanded that the scheme be rolled back.
"Without any discussion or debate in the Parliament and (information) in the public domain, the scheme was brought by the government to destroy the future of youth. It shows the arrogance of the BJP government...," a protester said. Protests were also held in Kathua, Samba, Reasi and Rajouri districts. Police, however, said there were no reports of violence from anywhere. The Centre last Tuesday unveiled the Agnipath scheme to recruit youngsters aged between 17-and-a-half and 21 years in the army, navy and air force, largely on a four-year contractual basis. It later relaxed the upper age limit for this year’s recruitment to 23. Protests against the scheme have hit various parts of the country, with agitators vandalising public property and burning down trains in states such as Bihar, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh among others.
(With PTI Inputs)