Anti-Agnipath Protests Reach Karnataka; Centre Cautions All States on Continuing Agitation


BENGALURU — Protests against ‘Agnipath’, the Centre’s ambitious scheme for short-term recruitment into the armed forces, erupted in several parts of Belagavi and Dharwad districts in Karnataka on Saturday, forcing the police to resort to lathi charge to disperse the mob at Dharwad city.

The cops have so far taken 30 protesters into custody.

Hundreds of youth had gathered near the Naika Adda circle in Dharwad to stage a protest aginst the Agnipath scheme, forcing the Additional DC to rush to the spot and urge the agitators to drop their plan.

However, when the youth refused to oblige, the police intervened and a verbal altercation broke out between the protesters and the cops. The police then reorted to lathi charge and took 30 prtesters into custody.

Meanwhile, hundreds of youth staged a protest in Gokak city in Belagavi district demanding reinstatement of the old recruitment scheme, raising slogans against the Central government.

They claimed the Agnipath scheme is detrimental for the youth and will push them on the verge of suicide. The Central government is playing with the career and future of the youth, they said.

A large group of youth staged a protest at Khanapur in Belagavi district under the leadership of Congress MLA Anjali Nimbalkar. The youth congregated at the Malaprabha Taluk Maidan and took out a protest march to the Tehsildar’s office, where they submitted a memorandum in the name of the President of India demanding roll back of the scheme.

Protests were also held in Nippani town of Belagavi district.

Meanwhile,  the central govt, on Saturday, sent a note of caution to all states and Union Territories (UTs) regarding tackling the continued agitations on this count.

The letter signed by Deputy Secretary to Central government, Archana Varma, has been addressed to all Chief Secretaries, Advisors to Administrators of all states and UTs, state and UT Director Generals of Police and Police Commissioners of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. A copy of the letter is available with IANS.

“As per the information, there have been protests against the Agnipath scheme mainly in the form of gatherings, dharnas, demonstrations, marches, arson etc, including damage to public property. In social media a call for Bharat Bandh and protest at Jantar Mantar, Delhi on 20.06. 2022 is under circulation. There is a likelihood that the protest may continue for some time,” the letter read.

In view of the above, the letter has added that “It would be imperative to put in place adequate security arrangements at important installations and facilities, especially Railway stations/lines, National Highways and important government officers to maintain law and order, peace, and tranquility.”

The Union Cabinet had on Tuesday approved the ‘Agnipath’ recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the armed forces. The ‘Agnipath’ model will foresee the recruitment of personnel below officer rank (PBOR) in army, air force and navy for four years, including six months of training. At the end of four years, 25 per cent of the soldiers recruited under this scheme will be inducted into the armed forces as ‘Agniveers’. — IANS

Hundreds of youth had gathered near the Naika Adda circle in Dharwad to stage a protest aginst the Agnipath scheme. — IANS
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