How the Secunderabad Railway station protest was planned and executed

The protestors reportedly reached the city via various public transports and stayed the night at their friends' or relatives' homes

By Sumit Jha  Published on  17 Jun 2022 11:24 AM GMT
How the Secunderabad Railway station protest was planned and executed

Hyderabad: More than 500 students from various districts of Telangana reached Hyderabad on Thursday evening. They planned to organise a protest after the Central government announced the Agnipath Recruitment Scheme on 14 June. The protestors are reportedly Army Common Entrance Examination (CEE) aspirants which has not been conducted over the last two years due to Covid-19. They started planning the protest through various groups on WhatsApp and Telegram. The aspirants are part of these groups that essentially act as study groups.

"As CEE was canceled, I was scared that I'll cross the age limit. But after waiting for two years, the government comes up with a scheme that puts us out of work after four years. That's wrong," one of the protestors explained.

The protestors reportedly reached the city via various public transports and stayed the night at their friends' or relatives' homes. "This is a planned protest. This particular station was chosen because it is the headquarters of the South Central Railways (SCR). We are protesting against the Central government's new Agnipath Recruitment Scheme," the protestors said. At 6 a.m on Friday morning, protestors began gathering near the railway station. They entered the railway station through the front gate. According to them, they asked all the passengers on the trains to evacuate immediately.

The protest began between 7:30 a.m and 8 a.m.

After passengers rushed out, the protestors burned carriages containing parcels and cargo.

Before the state and railway police could arrive, the damage was done.

A bogie containing parcels from India Post was burnt to a crisp.

In a bid to control the situation, the police opened fire in the air as the situation turned violent. However, a bullet hit one of the protestors from Warangal who died in Gandhi Hospital during treatment. While police sources say only one person has been hit by a bullet, the protestors claimed that bullets hit at least two others. The protestors are still at the Secunderabad Railway station where they have gathered on the railway tracks. They are not allowing any trains to pass. The protestors said more aspirants from across the state are on their way to the station.

"There is no political motive behind the protest. We want the Army recruitment to be the way it was. If the government does not roll back the Agnipath scheme over the next couple of days, thousand more people will gather here," a protestor said.

Metro, MMTS suspended until further notice:

After a violent protest broke out at the Secunderabad Railway Station on Friday morning, the Hyderabad Metro and MMTS services have been suspended until further notice.

"Passengers are informed that due to some disturbance in the city, all operations in all three lines of Hyderabad Metro Rail stand suspended till further notice. Passengers are advised to take care and make alternate arrangements," an L&TMRHL Spokesperson said.

Passengers across the city were not allowed into the metro stations in all lines. While the exits for the stations are open for passengers to come out, all the entries are closed.

As per sources, more than 200 people rushed onto a platform in Secunderabad Railway Station with sticks, protesting against the newly launched Agnipath scheme. The protestors allegedly burnt several bhogi's one of which was carrying parcels and cargo of India Post.

As many as 71 trains to and from Secunderabad Railway Station stand canceled.

What is Agnipath Scheme?

On June 14, Union Cabinet approved an Agnipath that will allow Indian youth to serve in the armed forces. Youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers, and they will be allowed to serve in the armed forces for four years.

The government hopes to attract young talent who are more in tune with contemporary technological trends and "plow back skilled, disciplined and motivated manpower into the society."

"As for the armed forces, it will enhance the youthful profile of the armed forces and provide a fresh lease of 'Josh' and 'Jazba' whilst at the same time bring about a transformational shift towards more tech-savvy armed forces – which is indeed the need of the hour," the government said in a press release.

The implementation of the scheme is likely to bring down the average age profile of the Indian armed forces by about 4-5 years.

The government plans to recruit 46,000 Agniveers this year. Recruitment rallies will commence in 90 days.

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