Railway Station Looted and Vandalized During India Military Recruitment Protest

Protesters looted and vandalized railway stations in India to oppose the country’s new military recruitment process.

Violent demonstrations continued on Saturday in Bihar, with protesters setting on fire 12 vehicles, including a police jeep. train ticket counters, the traffic control room, and CCTVs were also damaged.

Reports said some armed men opened fire at the Government Railway Police (GPR) while a police officer claimed protesters took hostage some GPR personnel after surrounding the police post.

The GPR said it was forced to fire into the air and used tear gas to control the mob.

The protests occurred after the Indian government announced the Agnipath scheme, recruiting the youth to serve in the armed forces for four years. India’s Ministry of Defense said the new system aims to provide a “youthful profile” to the armed forces. 

“It is envisaged that [the] average age profile of Indian Armed forces would come down by about 4-5 years by implementation of this scheme,” the defense ministry said.

Department of Military Affairs Additional Secretary Lt. Gen Anil Puri said the defense ministry “wants” the young people to join the armed forces because they are “risk-takers” and passionate.

Hundreds of young people participated in the protests, with over a dozen taken into custody and released later.

Amid the involvement of young people in the protests, Puri said applicants for the Agnipath scheme would have to provide a certification that they did not take part in demonstrations or vandalisms.

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