Anti-Agnipath stir: Massive protest rally in Kerala

Hundreds of youth on Saturday took out a massive protest march here against the Centre’s decision to implement the new Agnipath scheme for the recruitment of soldiers, airmen and sailors. Large number of army job aspirants, who have been reportedly waiting to get enrolled into the defence service, gathered at Thampanoor, located in the heart of the city, in the morning and marched to Raj Bhavan, the official residence of Governor Arif Mohammed Khan.

They could be seen raising slogans against the Union government’s new military recruitment scheme and holding placards and banners urging the authorities to withdraw their decision at the earliest.

The protesting youth were reportedly hailing from various parts of the southern state.

An agitating man said they would continue the strike till the Centre rolls back its decision and justice is ensured to them.

“Many of us have decided to join the army and started preparations for the examination after dropping our graduation studies midway. What will we do if the Centre goes ahead with this scheme? Our future will be in peril. So, we will continue our fight till we get justice,” he said.

Violent protests have broken out in parts of the country demanding the Centre to roll back Agnipath scheme unveiled by the Ministry of Defence which is a pan-India merit-based recruitment scheme for enrolling soldiers, airmen and sailors.

Trains were set afire, public and police vehicles attacked and personnel injured as protests over ‘Agnipath’ snowballed and swept across several states including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on Thursday and Friday.

On Friday, a 24-year-old man was shot dead in police firing during protests in Telangana’s Secunderabad.

Under the scheme, young persons will be provided an opportunity to serve in the armed forces as ‘Agniveer’ for a period of four years, including training period.

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Harry Byrne

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