Agnipath | National

Home Secretary reviews law and order over bandh call

Police conduct a route march in Belagavi in the wake of reports of  protest against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme.

Police conduct a route march in Belagavi in the wake of reports of protest against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme. | Photo Credit: P.K. Badiger

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla chaired a meeting of Directors-General of Police and Chief Secretaries of all States on Sunday in view of the violence over the Agnipath scheme and the Bharat bandh call for Monday.

It is not clear which organisation had announced the country-wide protest to take place on Monday, but the police in several areas imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, prohibiting gatherings of more than four people at a time based on social media posts.

“No particular organisation is known to have called for a Bharat bandh, but as a preventive measure, we are taking all precautions by deploying additional forces,” said the DGP of one of the States on condition of anonymity. A senior official said that based on inputs provided by intelligence agencies, 35 WhatsApp groups have been blocked for spreading misinformation and “fake news” about Agnipath. A close watch was being kept on other social media platforms also, the official said.

In a video conference with senior officials of the State governments, the Home Secretary was apprised of the law and order situation and measures taken to bring the violence under control.

Violent protests were reported from several parts of the country since the Agnipath scheme, for short-term recruitment in the armed forces, was announced by the government on June 15.

The intelligence agencies were keeping a close watch on WhatsApp groups run by coaching institutes from where mass calls for protests were announced, particularly in Bihar. Police officials have been asked to hold community meetings to explain the benefits of the scheme.

Nearly 400 east-bound trains were cancelled in the past two days. Amid protests, the government has announced incentives for Agniveers after they complete four-years of service which include 10% reservation in Central Armed Police Forces and Defence Ministry jobs. Only up to 25% of the Agniveers will be retained at the completion of four-years.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 7:32:04 am |