Tuesday, June 28, 2022

India suspends Internet in Bihar over military recruitment protests

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BHUBANESHWAR/LUCKNOW: Indian authorities suspended Internet services in several parts of the eastern state of Bihar in a bid to stop public gatherings and violent protests over a military recruitment plan, police officials said on Saturday.

One protester was killed and more than a dozen have been injured in a series of protests in some regions of the country against Modi’s new policy to hire soldiers for short tenures.

The Agnipath or “path of fire” system aims to bring more people into the military on four-year contracts to lower the average age of India’s 1.38 million-strong armed forces and cut burgeoning pension costs, the government said.

Protesters, mainly young men, say the plan will limit opportunities for permanent jobs with the defence forces, which guarantee fixed salaries, pensions and other benefits.

Many took to the streets in Bihar, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to protest against this plan.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp have been blocked in 15 of 38 districts of Bihar, said Sanjay Singh, a senior police official in the state, where protesters burned passenger trains and buses this week to express their outrage.

In Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, police detained at least 250 people under what are called preventive arrests. Some demonstrators accused the police of using excessive force.

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