Raising slogans 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and 'Agnipath Vapas Lo', youths protesting against the Centre's new scheme to recruit soldiers on Friday set an empty train on fire and vandalised a few other trains here, prompting the police to lathicharge them.
Police sources said that the protesters gathered at the Veeri Lork Stadium here and then marched to the Ballia railway station.
A video of the youths raising the slogans and vandalising the Ballia-Varanasi Memu and Ballia-Shahganj trains has gone viral.
They also allegedly pelted stones near the railway godown and targeted private shops at the railway station platform.
Buses outside were targeted too, sources said.
District Magistrate Saumya Agarwal said, "Considering the possibility of youths protesting, police was deployed from the morning itself. Some unruly youths came and tried to pelt stones, but the administration did not allow them to succeed. One portion of Ballia railway station was vandalised. Action is being taken against the unruly elements."
Superintendent of Police Raj Karan Nayyar said that the youths are being persuaded to call off the protest and sent back.
"The incident has been videographed. So far, no arrests have been made," he said.
Protests have erupted in several states since Wednesday against the Agnipath scheme to recruit jawans into the army, the navy and the air force for a four-year-period followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.