Railways faces Agnipath fury; 2 dead in violence

A protester and a train passenger died even as protests over the Agnipath scheme escalated on the third day on Friday. Almost a dozen trains were set on fire by angry protesters in Bihar, UP and Telangana. Over 340 trains were affected by evening and more than 200 cancelled due to the protests. Ninety-four mail and express trains and 140 passenger trains were cancelled due to the protests, while 65 mail and express and 30 passenger trains were partially cancelled.

Bihar remained the most affected state with maximum damage to public property. Protesters burnt 10 trains in different parts of Bihar and one passenger died in Lakhisarai during the protest. Protesters damaged public property in Patna, Arrah, Lakhisarai, Sasaram, Vaishali, Munger, Samastipur, Nalanda, Arwal, Jehanabad, Supaul, Betiah and Madhepura districts. The house of Bihar deputy chief minister Renu Devi was attacked and damaged in Bettiah. BJP offices in Sasaram and Madhepura were set on fire, while the car of BJP MLA Vinay Bihari was attacked. Violence during the protests were reported from more than dozen districts of Bihar, where internet services have been cut.

The second death was reported in Secunderabad, where one of the protesters who set a train on fire died. In Uttar Pradesh, at least 17 districts saw aggressive protests with arson and vandalism and stone pelting reported from a number of places. A train bogey parked in the washing pit was torched in Ballia even as protesters clashed with the police and pelted stones. About a hundred persons were arrested till evening. In Varanasi, newly inducted electric buses were damaged at a bus station while protestors barged into the cantonment railway station and vandalised the premises.

Protests also took place in part of Rajasthan, Jammu, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and a few other states.

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William Murphy

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