‘Bharat Bandh’ contained with effect; no trouble reported from anywhere: UP top cop

Lucknow: The Bharat Bandh’ call against the Agnipath’ scheme of the central government has had no impact in Uttar Pradesh and the situation in the state is fully under control, a senior police officer said here on Monday.

Thirty-nine cases were lodged and 475 people were arrested, of whom 330 were arrested under serious sections for protesting against the scheme, the officer said.

Protests against the ‘Agnipath’ scheme have been on since June 16 in various districts of Uttar Pradesh, having earlier started in Bihar and West Bengal, and later spreading to other states of the country.

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Thousands of young people have come out on streets taking recourse to destructive means protesting against the central government’s rolling out of Agnipath’ scheme, which seeks to recruit soldiers in the armed forces on short-term contract basis.

The scheme was announced last Tuesday.

“Bharat Bandh call was given on social media though no group had owned it, the police were on alert since morning having made elaborate arrangements with vast deployment of the force,” ADG law and order Prashant Kumar said.

As many as 141 companies of PAC and 10 companies of CAPF besides the civil police have been deployed, he said, adding that no trouble was reported from anywhere and the conditions were fully under control.

“There has been no impact of the Bharat Bandh call anywhere in the state,” he said.

In the state capital Lucknow, all business establishments and offices remained open and there was normal traffic on the roads since the morning, he said.

Kumar said that the police had acted with sensitivity up to the time only students were involved in the agitation, but later when anti-social elements and political elements infiltrated into it causing violence, nuisance, and arson, police took a strong view of the situation registering cases under strict laws and making arrests.

The ADG also said the cost of damages to government or private property will be realised from the culprits.

He said that under the directives of the Chief Minister, police and administration has launched an extensive public outreach, seeking the cooperation of the operators of coaching centres, and several of them have appealed to the students against agitating.

He, however, warned that such operators as those who are instigating the youths will be arrested and subjected to strict action.

“UP government and police are confident that the scheme is important for national security and all out efforts are being made to make it successful,” he said.

He said that ex-servicemen and district officials are making the people aware about the scheme.

According to a statement issued by the state home department on Sunday, by then thirty-four cases had been registered in 14 districts, with arrest of 387 people in connection with the protests.

At least seven cases have been registered in Jaunpur and four each in Aligarh and Chandauli so far. Protesters had also indulged in arson in Jaunpur, Ballia and Aligarh districts, according to police.

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