Anti-Agnipath protests: Bihar Police probing role of coaching centres in inciting violence

PATNA (Bihar) [India], June 18 (ANI): Bihar Police on Saturday said it is probing the role of coaching centres in inciting violent protests against the Centre's Agnipath recruitment scheme in the state. Students' organisations in Bihar, led by the All India Students' Association, have called a 24-hour Bihar bandh today demanding an immediate rollback of the new recruitment scheme in the military launched this week by the government. Patna DM Chandrashekhar Singh said an FIR was filed against 170 people, out of whom 46 were arrested for vandalism at Danapur railway station.

Video footage and WhatsApp messages of some coaching centres have been found from those who have been arrested for vandalism at Danapur railway station, the Patna DM said. "We're probing the role of coaching centres based on that content. Stringent action will be taken against coaching institutes if their involvement is established," Singh said.

The Patna DM said security forces have been deployed at various places spots in Patna.

"Heavy deployment of police forces have been done at different places in Bihar. Keeping in mind Bihar Bandh, we appeal to all the students and their supporters to hold protests peacefully in the state. Strict action will be taken against those who turn the demonstrations violent," the DM said.

The District Magistrate also informed that the para-military forces and Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) have also been deployed. Meanwhile, the RJD has lent its support to the bandh call and former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manji whose Hindustan Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S) is an ally of the BJP said that while his party did not support the violence it would support the Bihar bandh call in the interest of the youth.

Indian Army aspirants have been protesting in several states of the country along with Bihar since the Centre launched the Agnipath scheme which proposed hiring personnel for a four-year period in the armed forces, followed by mandatory retirement for at least 75 per cent of them without any pension benefits.

One person was shot dead on Friday in police firing in Telangana's Secunderabad and protestors torched compartments of trains and attacked private and public vehicles in many states, including Bihar . Protesters allegedly attacked the houses of Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi and Bihar BJP president and West Champaran MP Sanjay Jaiswal.

Internet services have been temporarily suspended in 12 districts of Bihar - Kaimer, Bhojpur, Aurangabad, Rohtas, Buxer, Nawada, West Champaran, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Vaishali and Saran Apart from Bihar, railway traffic was also blocked and train coaches were set ablaze in several states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Telangana. Train services have been affected with the Railways cancelling over 200 trains so far.