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Bharat Bandh Against Agnipath Scheme Kicks Off, States Deploy Security Forces

New Delhi: Ahead of the call for a countrywide strike against the Agnipath military recruitment scheme that will leave 75% of recruited soldiers without a clear path of employment four years after having been hired, the government has banned 35 WhatsApp groups that were allegedly spreading fake news.

The government has not released information about these groups or if any action has been initiated against their administrators.

In parts of the country, police and security forces have been posted in large numbers ahead of the Bharat Bandh call given by various organisations. On June 17, the organisations had given the government a 72-hour ultimatum, promising a countrywide strike if the scheme is not rolled back.

Among those who had issued the ultimatum, according to Economic Times, are Raju Yadav, the convener of Army Recruitment personnel Morcha; Manoj Manjil, Left party MLA from the Agiyaon Assembly constituency and national president of INAUS, Sandeep Saurav, MLA of Paliganj and secretary of AISA Bihar unit; Ajit Kushwaha, MLA of Dumraon; Aftab Alam, Vikas Yadav and many others related to AISA (All India Students Association) and INAUS have given the ultimatum to the Central government to withdraw the Agnipath scheme.

In Noida, Gautam Buddh Nagar has imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. So far, 225 people have been booked and 15 arrested in connection with the violent protest at the Jewar toll plaza on the Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida on Friday.

Trains were cancelled at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, the news agency ANI has reported.

The Delhi-Gurugram Expressway has seen traffic disruptions, NDTV has reported, due to checks being conducted by security forces.

Kerala police has said its entire force will be on duty to arrest anyone engaging in violence or destruction of public property during the Bharat Bandh.

State police chief (SPC) Anil Kant issued guidelines to the personnel to prevent violence against the public as well as forced closure of businesses, a release issued by the State Police Media Centre said.

Protests against the scheme across the country have led to mass destruction of trains, vehicles and other public and private property.

Ruling out the rollback of the controversial scheme despite the widespread protests, the three services of the military on Sunday, June 19, announced that applicants for the new recruitment scheme will have to pledge that they did not participate in any arson or agitation.

(Courtesy The Wire)

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