By Jatindra Dash and Saurabh Sharma
BHUBANESHWAR / LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) – Indian authorities have suspended Internet services in various parts of the eastern state of Bihar in an attempt to stop public gatherings and violent protests over a military recruitment plan, officials said on Saturday. of the police.
One protester was killed and more than a dozen were injured in a series of protests in some parts of the country against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new policy of hiring soldiers for short terms.
The government said the Agnipath system or “fire road” aims to add more people to the military with four-year contracts to reduce the average age of India’s armed forces by 1.38 million and reduce rising pension costs.
Protesters, mostly young men, say the plan will limit fixed-employment opportunities with defense forces, which guarantee fixed salaries, pensions and other benefits.
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Many took to the streets in Bihar, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to protest the plan.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp have been blocked in 15 of Bihar’s 38 districts, said Sanjay Singh, a senior state police official, where protesters burned passenger and bus trains this week. to express his outrage.
In Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, police detained at least 250 people under what are called pre-trial detentions. Some protesters accused police of using excessive force.
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has called on young people to apply for the new scheme. The navy chief said on Friday that the protests were unexpected and probably the result of misinformation about the new system.
“I did not anticipate any such protests,” Admiral R. Hari Kumar told Reuters TV partner ANI. “It is the biggest human resource management transformation that has ever taken place in the Indian Army.”
(Written by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Edited by Rupam Jain and William Mallard)
Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.