HomeWorldViolent Protests Erupt in India Against New Military Recruitment Scheme

Violent Protests Erupt in India Against New Military Recruitment Scheme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government this week announced a recruitment review for the 1.38 million-strong Indian armed forces, seeking to lower the average age of personnel and reduce spending on pensions.

But potential recruits, military veterans, opposition leaders and even some members of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have expressed reservations about the revamped process.

In the Palwal district of the northern state of Haryana, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the capital New Delhi, mob hurled stones at the house of a government official and police guarding the building fired shots to keep stripes the crowd, according to video footage from a Reuters partner. AND ME.

“Yes, we have fired some shots to control the crowd,” said a local police officer, who declined to be identified.

There was no immediate information on the victims.

Mobile internet was temporarily suspended in Palwal district for the next 24 hours, the Haryana information department said.

Protesters in the eastern Indian state of Bihar set fire to a BJP office in the city of Nawada, attacked railway infrastructure and blocked roads, as demonstrations spread across various parts of the country, police officials told Reuters.

Protesters also attacked railway property in Bihar, setting railcars on fire in at least two places, damaging railway tracks and vandalizing a station, according to officials and a statement from the railways.

The new recruitment system, called Agnipath or “fire path” in Hindi, will induct men and women between the ages of 17 1/2 to 21 for a four-year term in unofficial ranks, with only a quarter held for longer periods. .

Previously, soldiers had been drafted into the army, navy, and air force separately, and typically entered service for up to 17 years for the lower ranks.

The shorter tenure has caused concern among potential recruits.

“Where will we go after working only four years?” a young man, surrounded by fellow protesters in Bihar’s Jehanabad district, told ANI. “We will be homeless after four years of service. So we have clogged the roads.”

Smoke billowed from burning tires at a road junction in Jehanabad, where protesters shouted slogans and did push-ups to emphasize their fitness for duty.

Bihar and neighboring Uttar Pradesh witnessed protests over the recruitment process for rail jobs in January this year, underscoring India’s persistent unemployment problem.

Varun Gandhi, a BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh, in a letter to Indian defense minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that 75% of those recruited under the scheme would be unemployed after four years of service.

“Every year, this number will increase,” Gandhi said, according to a copy of the letter posted by him on social media.

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