'Agnipath' scheme: Protests turn violent; police vehicles set on fire in Haryana's Palwal; internet suspended : The Tribune India

'Agnipath' scheme: Protests turn violent; police vehicles set on fire in Haryana's Palwal; internet suspended

Protesters lay seize to bus stands and roads, crippling traffic on Gurugram-Jaipur highway; internet also suspended in Ballabhgarh sub-division of Faridabad

Tribune News Service

Palwal, June 16

Thousands of young armed forces aspirants took to streets in south Haryana on day against the recently announced army recruitment scheme Agnipath.

While it was a scattered protest and blockage of roads in areas like Gurugram, Rewari, Hodal, Rohtak and Charkhi Dadri, the demonstration turned aggressive in Palwal.

The Palwal DC imposed Section 144 and  issued temporary suspension of mobile internet services, all SMS services and all dongle services etc. provided on mobile networks except the voice calls.

Apprehending trouble in view of protests, internet services were also suspended in Ballabhgarh sub-division of Faridabad.

Shouting slogans of ‘arthi ya vardi’ the protesters, which, according to to police, also included “anti-social elements” took entire city to ransom.

They attacked DC office, DC residence, burnt five police vehicles, damaging many public transport vehicles and injured around 20 cops, administration and media persons. It was only when police used force did they retreat. Police had to resort to mild canecharge, aerial firing and teargas to control the situation. While the chaos subsided in evening the local administration went ahead imposing Section 144 in the district and also suspending internet services to maintain peace.

It all started around 10.30 am when army aspirants gathered to protest against ‘Agnipath’ scheme near rest house, near Old Court. They were soon joined by other men who went ahead with blocking the highway. When local police tried to stop them they went on rampage and attacked DC residence. They pelted the staff on security duty with stones.

The protesters then went on burning three police vehicles, damaging other vehicles on highway besides damaging media centre. The police had to seek help from their Faridabad and Nuh counterparts to check the protesters. The situation was brought under control in around three hours and over a dozen protesters were detained.

“Two SHOs and 15 other cops are seriously injured while five of our vehicles were burnt. The young aspirants were joined by some anti-social elements who created law and order crisis in the district. They pelted cops with stones, tried to break gate and attack residence of DC and even snatched away gun of a security personal. When they refused to retreat we retorted to using force and cane charged them, used teargas. We have detained some. We have made an SIT and conducting raids. Police is on high alert, nobody will be allowed to disrupt peace,” said Palwal SP Mukesh Malhotra.

The situation was tense in Rewari district also where the protests originally started. The protesters disrupted vehicular traffic for around three hours outside Bus stand and Nayiwali Chowk on the Circular Road here. They damaged the traffic lights and removed police barricades put on the road to stop them.

The police resorted to cane charge to disperse the protesters who also pelted stones. They did not allow the buses to ply. The police on getting information rushed to the spot and managed to disperse the protesters from there. Sources maintained the police took them to adjoining Rao Tula Ram Park on the pretext of listening to their grievances. After some time, the protesters tried to come out of the park with an intention to block the road. Sensing the gravity of the situation, the police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the protesters.

Meanwhile, the neighboring district of Faridabad too has imposed Section 144 as a precautionary measure against any prospective protests or law and order disruption. In Gurugram, hundreds of youth blocked traffic at Bilaspur area and held traffic hostage for almost 7 hours forcing police to divert same.

Though traffic police tried to handle situation, major traffic congestion was witnessed on entire expressway and soon even spread to KMP. The administration officials went and spoke to the protesters and it was only then that they withdrew. Though situation remained under control in city but owing to chaos in neighboring Palwal police are on high alert.


#Agnipath scheme #Agniveer

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