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Jamshedpur youth squat on railway tracks in Jugsalai against Centre’s Agnipath scheme    

Several trains cancelled others regulated

Jamshedpur, June 17: Protests by angry youth against the recently announced Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the armed forces reached the city with youth in large numbers squatting on the railway tracks in Jugsalai on Friday morning. Under the banner of Maha Andolan Jharkhand, the youths raised slogans against the Union Government and refused to budge. Several trains came to stand still due to the protest.

As the news spread, Deputy Commissioner Vijaya Jadhav along with Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Dr. M Tamil Vanan and other administrative officials, rushed to Jugsalai to control the situation created by the groups. Later, she sat on the stairs of Jugsalai police station and convinced the youth not to agitate and adopt peaceful means to express their concerns.

The Agnipath scheme, announced by defence minister Rajnath Singh, aims to create ‘Agniveers’ among Indian youth, even after they are not absorbed by the Armed Forces. Under the scheme, 45,000 – 50,000 youth will be recruited annually for a period of four years, after which most of them will leave and rejoin the general workforce. Only 25% will be absorbed by the Armed Forces, that too for only 15 years under the permanent commission that will entitle them to all the perks and pension.

Due to agitation over different Railway Zones, a number of trains were cancelled/regulated. In South Eastern Railway jurisdiction, agitation was held at Tatanagar station from 8:05 hrs to 9:50 hrs. Cancellation of Trains on June 17: 18183 Tatanagar-Danapur Express and 18046 Hyderabad-Shalimar East Coast Express.

Short Termination of Trains on June 17: 13504 Hatia-Barddhaman MEMU Express will be short terminated at Kotshila. 18019 Jhargram-Dhanbad MEMU Express will be short terminated at Tatanagar. Apart from this, ten number of Up trains and eleven Down trains were controlled over S E Railway during the agitation.

A protester said: “ The policies of the Modi Government are only in favour of corporate houses. No step is being taken to increase jobs. Agnipath scheme is mere eye wash. Where will we go after working for only four years? We will be homeless after four years of service. So we have jammed the tracks, the country’s leaders will now get to know that people are aware.”

They raised slogans demanding the withdrawal of the scheme which allows short-term recruitment in the armed forces.

The district officials had a tough time in persuading the protesters to call off the blockade. The protesters submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate. The protests were led by students who carried placards and shouted slogans against the scheme.

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