Defence Minister Chairs Meeting With Serving Chiefs

Story Highlights
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hold meeting with serving chiefs to discuss protests.
  • 20 protestors blocked rail tracks in West Bengal.
  • Over 73,000 posts are vacant in five wings of the paramilitary forces

New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a high-level meeting with service chiefs today amid protests over the new military recruitment scheme, Agnipath. One person has died in the protests that have now spread to eight states.Escalating protests yeilded the suspension of train services in the Sealdah-Barrackpore route in West Benga’s North 24 Parganas district for around one hour on Saturday. A group of anti-agnipatth agitators blocked railway tracks and performed push-ups to register protests against the new scheme.

Around 20 protestors were involved in blocking the two-way lines at 10 am which also affected vehicular traffic. We love our country, please don’t play with our future. We have been preparing for the army for several years, and now the Centre implements Agnipath scheme. We demand its immediate rollback,” one of the protesters, carrying ‘Boycott Agnipath’ placard, told reporters.

Earlier today, the centre added concessions in order to ease the protests and announced a 10per cent reservation for Agniveers in the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles. A three-year age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper limit to Agniveers for recruitment in the two paramilitary forces

The first batch of Agniveer will get age relaxation of five years beyond the prescribed upper age limit, it said.

Currently, over 73,000 posts are vacant in five wings of the paramilitary forces – Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Shastra Seema Bal (SSB), and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

At least 250 people have been arrested in Uttar Pradesh over the protests, which has seen hundreds of angry youth, carrying bamboo sticks and stones, storming railway premises across cities and laying siege to highways. Heavy police presence was reported in Jaunpur district today after protesters blocked roads and targeted private vehicle amid the protests.

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