Over 600 trains cancelled as India continues agitation against 'Agnipath' – here’re latest developments

News Network
June 20, 2022

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New Delhi: With the government standing its ground on the 'Agnipath' military recruitment scheme, some organisations called for 'Bharat Bandh' on Monday amid the ongoing protests demanding a rollback of the plan.

Here are the latest developments:

>> Even as the protests continued over the centre's 'Agnipath' short-term recruitment plan for armed forces, the Army today issued a notification for the induction of soldiers under the scheme. The online registration begins from July, said the notification.

>> Over 600 trains have been cancelled today in view of the Bharat Bandh call in parts of the country over the centre's 'Agnipath' scheme. The railways has suffered a major loss of property due to arson and rioting by the protesters over the last five days.

>> Congress leaders have sat on a 'Satyagraha' at Jantar Mantar in the national capital to express solidarity with the armed forces aspirants protesting against the 'Agnipath' scheme. Some Youth Congress workers were detained after they blocked a train at the Shivaji Bridge railway station near Connaught Place. Parts of Delhi witnessed traffic jams as the police have tightened security across the city and its bordering areas. 

>> In Haryana, a group of job aspirants blocked the Lal Batti Chowk in Fatehabad, while several others staged a protest on roads in Rohtak district. Security has been stepped up at several locations in Kerala, Telangana, West Bengal and Rajasthan also to avoid any untoward incident.

>> Uttar Pradesh Police said strict action will be taken against those found involved in jeopardising peace. In Punjab, the police have been asked to monitor the activities of social media groups which are allegedly mobilising or spreading instigating information about the scheme.

>> The Bihar government has increased security at party offices considered vulnerable. As of now, internet services remain shut in 20 districts. In Jharkhand, all schools will remain closed today amid protests over the 'Agnipath' scheme.

>> The three services of the military on Sunday came out with a broad schedule of enrolment under the 'Agnipath' scheme and warned those who indulged in violence and arson will not be inducted.

>> The Home and Defence ministries on Saturday promised new 10 per cent quotas each in jobs for 'Agnipath' recruits after their four-year tenure in the armed forces. Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the PSUs under his housing and petroleum ministries are also working on plans to induct 'Agniveers'.

>> The Home Ministry has further decided to give 3 years of age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment in Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles. 

>> Protests erupted in several states after June 14 when the centre unveiled the 'Agnipath' recruitment plan. Under the scheme, people between 17.5 and 21 years will be recruited in the armed forces for a four-year period, followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.

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News Network
June 25,2022

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Mumbai, June 25: The Gujarat anti-terrorist squad (ATS) on Saturday detained activist Teesta Setalvad in Mumbai in connection with a foreign fund case related to her NGO. 

Teesta Setalvad’s NGO had provided information about the 2002 Gujarat violence to the police and her name has been mentioned in the Supreme Court judgment which upheld the SIT’s clean chit to Narendra Modi. 

The move of the Gujarat ATS comes hours after Union home minister Amit Shah in his interview with news agency ANI slammed Teesta Setalvad and said her NGO gave baseless information about the Gujarat riots. 

Teesta Setalvad's lawyer said the police barged into her house and assaulted her. First, the activist was taken to Santa Cruz police station. From here, she will be taken to Ahmedabad city police station.

"I have read the judgment very carefully. The judgement clearly mentions the name of Teesta Setalvad. The NGO that was run being run by her - I don't remember the name of the NGO- had given baseless information about the riots to the police," Amit Shah, in an exclusive interview, told ANI.

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the appeal by Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in the Gujarat violence, and said that the appeal was "devoid of merits." A three-judge bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, upholding the Special Investigation Team or SIT's 2012 clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots case, said that Setalvad, co-petitioner in the case, exploited the emotions of Zakia Jafri.

"Antecedents of Teesta Setalvad need to be reckoned with and also because she has been vindictively persecuting this lis [dispute] for her ulterior design by exploiting the emotions and sentiments of Zakia Jafri, the real victim of the circumstances," the top court said in its order.

A total of 68 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed in the riots triggered by the burning of a train coach in which 59 pilgrims perished in February 2002. A decade later, the SIT report, exonerated Narendra Modi, citing "no prosecutable evidence" in the Gulbarg Society case.

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News Network
June 23,2022

Mumbai, June 23: Amid a rebellion by Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, party MP Sanjay Raut on Thursday said the Sena is ready to quit the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra if the group of rebel legislators camping in Assam returns to Mumbai in 24 hours and discusses the issue with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Shinde is currently camping with 37 rebel MLAs of the Sena and nine independents in Guwahati, which has plunged the party-led state government into a crisis. The NCP and Congress also share power in the Uddhav Thackeray-led dispensation.

"You say you are real Shiv Sainiks and will not quit the party. We are ready to consider your demand provided you come back to Mumbai in 24 hours and discuss the issue with CM Uddhav Thackeray. Your demand will be considered positively. Don't write letters on Twitter and WhatsApp," Raut told reporters.

"The rebels who are out of Mumbai have raised the issue of Hindutva. If all these MLAs feel that Shiv Sena should walk out of the MVA, show guts to come back to Mumbai. You say you have issues only with the government and also say that you are true Shiv Sainiks...Your demand will be considered. But come and talk with Uddhav Thackeray," he added.

CM Thackeray had on Wednesday offered to quit the top post amid the rebellion by Shinde and later also vacated his official residence in south Mumbai before moving to his family home in suburban Bandra. 

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News Network
June 22,2022

Mumbai, June 22: Amid political crisis in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that talks were underway with rebel party MLAs who are in support of Eknath Shinde adding that “ we might lose power but we'll continue to fight,” reported news agency ANI. 

Speaking to reporters, Raut said, “Talks are underway with MLAs who are with Eknath Shinde, everybody will stay in Shiv Sena. Our party is a fighter, we'll struggle consistently, atmost we might lose power but we'll continue to fight.”

Regarding senior party leader Eknath Shinde who turned against the party, Raut said, “Eknath Shinde is our very old party member, he is our friend, we've worked together for decades. It's neither easy for him nor for us to leave each other. I had a conversation with him for an hour this morning & the party chief was intimated about it.” 

Meanwhile, 40 Maharashtra MLAs — 33 Shiv Sena legislators and 7 Independents — have signed a letter of support to Eknath Shinde, reported news agency ANI quoting its sources. 

The news agency further reported that the rebel legislators may write to Governor Bhagat singh Koshiyari requesting him for a floor test in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. 

Eknath Shinde, along with the 40 rebel MLAs arrived in Guwahati on Wednesday. They were received by Assam BJP MLA Sushanta Borgohain and BJP MP Pallab Lochan Das amid speculations of Shinde joining the Bharatiya Janata Party along with his supporting MLAs to topple the Maha Vikaas Aghadi (MVA) government. 

Shinde along with Shiv Sena and independent legislatures was staying in a hotel in Gujarat's Surat following the cross-voting in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) polls and took flight earlier today to reach Guwahati.

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