Odishatv Bureau

Massive protests erupted in several parts of the country, including in Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh over the Centre's new Agnipath recruitment scheme which was launched on Tuesday. 

The scheme involves recruitment of the 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.

Aspirants preparing for jobs in defence forces disrupted railway and road traffic in Jehanabad, Buxar and Nawada districts for the second consecutive day on Thursday to protest against Centre's 'Agnipath' scheme, under which troops will be recruited into the Army on a short-term contractual basis.

Protestors in Bihar blocked the movement of trains on Patna-Gaya and Patna-Buxar routes by lying down on the railway tracks in Jehanabad and Buxar districts. However, Bihar Police along with their railway counterparts immediately removed the protestors from the tracks.

Protests against Agnipath SchemeProtests against Agnipath Scheme

Hundreds of agitators blocked National Highway 83 in Jehanabad and burned tyres demanding the scrapping of the scheme. Angry protestors took out processions in the three districts and other parts of the state.

In Bihar's Gopalganj district, the agitating aspirants set three coaches of a passenger train on fire at Sidhwalia railway station.

In Chhapra, the protesters attacked as many as 12 trains and set three of them on fire. In Kaimur, they set Inter-city Express train on fire. More than 15 districts across Bihar on Thursday witnessed massive protests and vandalism against the Agnipath scheme.

Train set afire in BIharTrain set on fire in BIhar

Protestors had disrupted railway and road traffic in various parts of the state also on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, scores of youngsters in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan staged protests against the Agnipath scheme. 

Under the 'Agnipath' scheme, around 45,000 people aged between 17.5 and 21 years will be inducted into the armed forces for a four-year period, following which most of them will have to take compulsory retirement sans pension or gratuity benefits although some will be retained.

Of the total annual recruits, only 25 per cent will be allowed to continue for another 15 years under permanent commission.

The Union cabinet has approved the "transformative" scheme on Tuesday.

Under the old system, youths aged between 16.5 and 21 years were selected for a minimum of 15 years of service and used to get pension after retirement.

(With Inputs From PTI & IANS)