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Protests against Agnipath intensify, gates at some Delhi metro stations closed, Section 144 imposed in Gurugram

New Delhi: Amid violent protests in states like Bihar, UP, Uttarakhand, Telangana and Haryana, a Student Union in Delhi on Friday protested against the Agnipath scheme demanding the withdrawal of the same.

All India Students' Association staged a protest against the Agnipath scheme in Delhi following which the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) shut some gates of ITO station, Dhansa Bus Stand Metro station and Jama Masjid Metro station for some time.

Jama Masjid metro station was also closed for a brief period of time owing to the protests.

Delhi minister Gopal Rai tweeted a photo of a 'peaceful' protest allegedly being intervened by the police. "The protesters were arrested by the police during a peaceful demonstration against the Agnipath scheme at ITO by the Joint Employment Movement Committee. The central government also wants to suppress peaceful demonstrations," tweeted Rai today.

In view of the developments, Delhi Police said that the law and order in the capital city will be maintained under all circumstances. "Police is ready for all emergencies and contingencies. All kinds of unlawful assemblies are being immediately dispersed," DCP Central Shweta Chauhan said to reporters today on protests against Agnipath recruitment scheme.

The Gurugram authorities on Friday imposed Section 144 in the district barring the gathering of more than four persons as a preemptive measure. " has been made to appear to me that crowd may assemble around the railway stations, bus stand, markets, National Highways, power grid and other places of Gurugram which may create obstruction, disturbance or interference of law and order," an order issued by district magistrate Nishant Kumar Yadav read.

After Thursday's protests in Haryana's Palwal, mobile internet and SMS services were suspended in Fardiabad's Ballabhgarh for 24 hours.

The Centre announced the Agnipath scheme of military recruitment which will provide employment opportunities to youth between the age of 17.5 years and 21 for a contract of four years at the end of which only 25 per cent of the batch will be retained and others will be provided with several benefits for their future.

Agnipath Scheme was recently introduced by the government in an effort to bring a change in the recruitment process of the Armed Forces. With the new military recruitment scheme facing a backlash by Opposition, the Centre has decided to bring a change in the upper age limit for recruiting Agniveers. Granting a one-time waiver, the Centre on June 16, 2022, announced that the Agniveer upper age limit for recruitments via Agnipath Scheme has been extended to 23 years from 21 years.

Consequent to the commencement of the Agnipath scheme, the entry age for all new recruits in the Armed Forces has been fixed as 17 1/2 - 21 years of age, said the Ministry of Defence on Friday.

However, the scheme did not go down well with the youth waiting for the resumption of the military recruitment for the last two years and political parties too extended support to the protesters demanding immediate withdrawal of the scheme. Notably, COVID-19 halted the Army's recruitment for over two years. In 2019-2020, the Army recruited jawans and there has been no entry since then. On the other hand, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force had both recruited in the last two years respectively. (ANI)

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