Protests erupted in several states since Wednesday (File)New Delhi:
With the government standing its ground on the ‘Agnipath’ military recruitment scheme, a call for ‘Bharat Bandh’ has been made by some organisations demanding a rollback of the plan. Here are the top 10 updates on this big storySeveral organisations, including Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, will stage protests against the Agnipath scheme at Jantar Mantar in the national capital today. Traffic has been disrupted at the Delhi-Gurugram Expressway. In Faridabad and Noida, the police said prohibitory orders banning large gatherings have been imposed.Uttar Pradesh Police said that strict action will be taken against those found involved in jeopardising peace. In Punjab, the police have been asked to monitor the activities of social media groups which are allegedly mobilising or spreading instigating information about the scheme.The Bihar government has increased security at party offices considered vulnerable. As of now, internet services remain shut in 20 districts. In Jharkhand, all schools in will remain closed today as a precautionary measure.The Kerala Police said its entire force will be on duty today to arrest anyone engaging in violence or destruction of public property.The three services of the military on Sunday came out with a broad schedule of enrolment under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme and warned those who indulged in violence and arson will not be inducted.The Home and Defence ministries on Saturday promised new 10 per cent quotas each in jobs for ‘Agnipath’ recruits after their four-year tenure in the armed forces. Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the PSUs under his housing and petroleum ministries are also working on plans to induct ‘Agniveers’.The Home Ministry has further decided to give 3 years of age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment in Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles.Earlier, the Centre raised the upper age limit for recruitment to 23 years for 2022 as a one-time measure in a bid to pacify the protesters.The opposition has maintained the pressure on the government, pressing for the immediate withdrawal of the recruitment plan. ‘Agnipath’ has also faced criticism from some of the Army veterans, who argue that the four-year tenure will hit the fighting spirit in the ranks and make them risk-averse.Protests erupted in several states since Wednesday against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme for the recruitment of soldiers between 17.5 and 21 years in the armed forces for a four-year period, followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.