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Agnipath stir: Widespread arson in UP

Inspector General of Police (IG) K Satyanarayana said that stern action will be taken against trouble-makers and all will be detained under the Gangster Act.

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Lucknow: As protests against Centre’s Agnipath Scheme continued in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday and violent mobs set alight vehicles, pelted stones and injured policemen, senior officers warned that NSA will be invoked and damages will be collected from the arsonists.

Inspector General of Police (IG) K Satyanarayana said that stern action will be taken against trouble-makers and all will be detained under the Gangster Act. A third day of damage to properties were reported from several districts of Uttar Pradesh even as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved a proposal to reserve 10 per cent of the job vacancies in his ministry for ‘Agniveers’ who met the requisite eligibility criteria.

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Police sources said over two dozen protesters were detained in connection to arson and attacks in the eastern districts of Jaunpur, Chandauli and Mirzapur, while a protest planned in the Badaun police station in western part of the state was averted due to timely information and action.

In Jaunpur, two vehicles were set ablaze and several others damaged when protestors pelted stones at policemen injuring a few as agitation against union government’s rejigged defence recruitment scheme continued since Thursday’s new norms were announced.

Official sources said on the second day of protest in the Uttar Pradesh district a large number of youths took to streets and vandalised vehicles, including two state roadways buses and a police vehicle during agitation along the Jaunpur-Prayagraj highway at Shivgulam Ganj trisection in Lala Bazar area.

Protestors set a bus and a jeep on fire around 9.30 am. They also torched some bikes in Lala Bazar. Senior officers were rushed to the spot.

In the Badlapur area, protesters indulged in heavy stone pelting. They attempted blocking the road at India Chowk around 7 am.

Around 8.30 am, the protestors stopped a bus and blocked the road when the police attempted to pacify the agitating youth they started pelting stones. Some policemen, including Inspector of Maharajganj police station Santosh Shukla, were injured in the stone pelting, sources said.  

The mob then headed towards Shri Krishna Nagar railway station, they said. On the apprehension of the protestors blocking railway track, forces from several police stations, including Badlapur, Maharajganj and Singramau were rushed to the spot.

Additional Superintendent of Police (Rural) Shailendra Kumar Singh also reached the spot as reinforcement arrived.

Inspector General of Police (IG) K Satyanarayana said that stern action will be taken against trouble-makers. “Around 20 to 25 people have been detained and cases will be lodged against all of them. All will be detained under the Gangster Act,” he said.

District Magistrate Manish Kumar Verma and Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Kumar Sahni have appealed to youths not to resort to violence of damage property. They said that cases have been lodged in connection with incidents which took place in Lala Bazar and Badlapur, all will be identified and arrested and will be sent to jail.

In Chandauli agitating youths vandalised Kuchman railway station in Alinagar area and indulged in stone pelting in which a few policemen, including a Sub Inspector, were injured.

Police sources said that around 11 am some youths reached Kuchman railway station and damaged the cabin and the railway crossing. The agitators threw items kept in the cabin on the railway track, they said.

Police sources said that when the police attempted to control the situation the protestors pelted stones in which in-charge of Jeevanpur police outpost Ganga Dhar Maurya and a couple of policemen sustained injuries. Later the Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) used force to disperse the crowd, they said.

In Mirzapur too, protestors pelted stones on a roadways bus near divisional commissioner’s office after which 8 persons were detained.

Superintendent of Police (City) Sanjay Kumar Verma said that in the wake of ongoing protest heavy force was deployed at sensitive places, including railway station and bus stand. “At 11 am around 50 to 60 protestors who came from Daghar side pelted stones of Janrath bus and damaged it. No passenger was injured in stone pelting,” he said.

Verma said that the protestors were prevented from marching towards the railway station and eight persons were detained. “Action could be taken against them under National Security Act (NSA) and recovery of loss done to the public property will be done from them,” he said.

In Badaun, protesters attempted to stage a demonstration at the railway station, but it was foiled by the police.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) OP Singh said that information was received that some people were coming to stage a protest at the railway station. “PAC, Rapid Action Force and police personnel were deployed immediately and the protestors were sent back after taking their memorandum,” he said.

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