What’s open, what’s closed: All you need to know about Bharat Bandh against Agnipath scheme

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Since the announcement of the Centre’s historic Agnipath recruitment scheme for soldiers into the Armed Forces — the Army, Navy, Air Force — on 14 June, the country has witnessed chaotic and violent scenes as defence aspirants have protested against the plan.

Over 450 train services were cancelled on Sunday due to protests in different parts of the country over the short-term recruitment in the Armed Forces; 229 mail/express trains and 254 passenger trains were cancelled due to the agitations with an additional, eight mail/express trains being partially cancelled.

Over hundreds of arrests have been made from various states over the violence that has broken out over the country. In Bihar, 145 FIRs were registered and 804 were arrested for indulging in violence and vandalism during the 16 to 18 June protests. Similarly, in Uttar Pradesh, as many as 387 people have been nabbed for their involvement in the violence.

Also read: Mobs burn trains, vandalise public property as Agnipath protests intensify: Who will pay for the damages?

In Secunderabad, another 46 people, including an ex-Armyman, have been arrested in connection with the arson and violence at the Secunderabad Railway Station on 17 June for protesting against Agnipath.

However, the Centre is standing on its ground with the three branches of the Services warning that those who indulge in violence and arson will not be inducted. On Sunday, Lt Gen Anil Puri, Additional Secretary in the Department of Military Affairs, said youths who were involved in arson and violence will not be able to join the three services as a police verification process will be carried out before enrolling anyone.

He also said the aspirants will have to pledge they were not part of protests or incidents of arson.

Today, various protesting groups have called for a Bharat Bandh against the Agnipath recruitment scheme, with several state governments tightening their security.

Here’s a look how states have prepared for the impending bandh.

Bihar

Internet services will remain snapped in 20 districts of Bihar today. The districts include Kaimur, Bhojpur, Aurangabad, Rohtas, Buxar, Nawada, West Champaran, East Champaran, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Vaishali, Saran, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Gaya, Madhubani, Jehanabad, Khagaria and Sheikhpura.

According to a statement issued by Police Headquarters, altogether 804 people have been arrested so far in connection with the large-scale violence and arson.

Heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces is in place for many districts.

Punjab

Amid calls for Bharat Bandh, security has been tightened in and around all vulnerable military establishments and central government offices based in Punjab.

Punjab ADGP, Law & Order has asked officials to monitor the activities of social media groups which are actively mobilising or spreading instigating information about the scheme.

Haryana

Faridabad Police will deploy more than 2,000 policemen to ensure law and order in the city.

“All preparations related to security arrangements have been completed by the Faridabad Police in terms of law and order on the call for Bharat Bandh. Law and order in Faridabad is completely tight. For this, elaborate security arrangements were made by putting up various police checkpoints in Faridabad,” the police said on Sunday.

A police official informed that videography will be done to keep an eye on the “activities of anti-social elements” during the bandh.

Jharkhand

Schools in Jharkhand will remain shut on Monday in view of the bandh called over the Agnipath recruitment scheme. The ongoing examinations of Std IX and XI have also been deferred.

“In view of the bandh called by certain organisations, it has been decided that all government, as well as private schools, will remain closed on Monday,” School Education and Literacy Department secretary Rajesh Kumar Sharma told news agency PTI.

“We do not want school students, especially those who travel by bus, to face any trouble. We have seen in Bihar that students were forced to get down from a bus as it was set ablaze,” he added.

Uttar Pradesh

The Gautam Buddh Nagar police on Sunday reiterated that Section 144 had been imposed in the district and asked people to not engage in any activity which disrupts law and order.

The additional deputy commissioner of police (DCP) has urged citizens to help police identify the anti-social elements engaged in the protests and also appealed to them to caution youngsters against demonstrations.

Rajasthan

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have also been imposed in the Jaipur police commissionerate area in the wake of the protests.

Ajaypal Lamba, Additional Commissioner of Jaipur Police, issued the orders to impose Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) from 6 pm on Sunday to midnight of 18 August.

He said there is a possibility of disturbance to law and order due to the protests.

All kinds of rallies, dharnas, demonstrations, and public meetings without prior permission will be banned, Lamba said.

It has also been directed that no one should circulate provocative messages on social media which may lead to law and order issues.

Action will be taken against those found violating the orders, Lamba said.

Kerala

In view of the possible Bharat Bandh, Kerala police said that its entire force would be on duty to arrest anyone engaging in violence or destruction of public property.

Hindustan Times reported that district police chiefs have been directed to prevent forced closure of businesses, and to provide security to courts, offices of the state electricity board (KSEB) and road transport corporation (KSRTC), as well as government offices and institutions.

With inputs from agencies

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What’s open, what’s closed: All you need to know about Bharat Bandh against Agnipath scheme
What’s open, what’s closed: All you need to know about Bharat Bandh against Agnipath scheme
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