One dead, many injured, all aggrieved: Hyderabad’s Agnipath protestors

Hyderabad: The visuals from Secunderabad railway station leave little to one’s imagination. As charred remains of vehicles lay abandoned on railway tracks, young men gathered in heaps and raise their voices in condemnation of the Agnipath scheme introduced by the BJP-led Union government.

Charred remains of a scooter, burned down by protestors at Secunderabad Railway station.

Heavy security has been deployed at the railway station amidst the chaos. At one point, the protestors started pelting stones which added to the already tense atmosphere.

Shot at, lathi-charged, aggrieved: Students

Speaking to this reporter, a protestor unwilling to identify himself, stated that the stones were pelted in response to the heavy fire the police deployed.

“There are protests against Agnipath across the country. However, the shooting happened only in Telangana so far. One person is dead. Who is responsible for that?” the protestor asked.

He further added that the group was protesting peacefully up to a point.

“When police decided to beat us with batons (lathi-charge), for our own safety, we picked up stones,” he added.

Another dissident Arvind*, addressing the group of protestors said that, “We have nothing against TRS, Congress, or any other party. Only BJP should be held accountable as they brought in the scheme. Bandi Sanjay (the state president for the BJP) has been critical of TRS and Congress but has not spoken against the issue.”

Arvind’s speech was followed by all the protestors shouting ‘BJP Khabardar'(BJP beware), signalling the start of rallying against the Agnipath scheme.

He further expressed his outrage and asked who issued orders for firing at protestors.

What are the students protesting against?

The chief concern for the protestors has to do with the fact that service is only for four years (limited employment). Further, this is followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.

The students have been calling for the army rally to be conducted as it has always been and Agnipath to be taken back.

In Hyderabad alone, select MMTS trains, all metro stations and several trains of the South Central Railway (SCR) have been cancelled.