Video: Man Holding Child Runs For Cover Amid Agnipath Protesters vs Police In Mathura

People seen running for cover behind police in video from Uttar Pradesh town as young men continue demonstrations across country

Video from Mathura shows man holding child escaping stone-throwing by protesters.

Mathura:

A man struggled to hold up a child as a family sought to escape stone-throwing by protesters against the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme in visuals from Mathura on Friday. People could be seen running for cover behind the police in the video from the Uttar Pradesh town as young men continued their angry demonstrations across several states.

The visuals were filmed on a prominent national highway that passes through the western Uttar Pradesh's district. Other videos showed police chasing protesters and firing tear gas at them on the highway. Windowpanes of several cars and trucks on the highway were also smashed by protesters. 

Mathura Police responded to the video, saying that senior officers are at the spot and strict action will be taken against the violent protesters.   

In eastern Uttar Pradesh's Ballia, a mob entered a railway station on Friday morning and set a coach on fire. The protesters also damaged railway station property before the police used force to disperse them. 

The protesters refuse to relent even after the government added some tweaks and benefits to the scheme announced on Tuesday. The scheme is for recruitment of soldiers in the Army, Navy and the Air Force, largely on a four-year short-term contractual basis.

Protesters are unhappy particularly with the length of service, lack of pension provisions for those released early, and the 17.5 to 21-year age restriction that made many of them ineligible. The government has relaxed the upper age limit to 23 for this year as army recruitment rallies have not been held for the past two years citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new scheme, only up to 25 per cent of the 'Agniveers' selected will be retained for a 15-year regular commission after four years. This year, the scheme is meant to recruit 46,000 people. Under the old system, those aged 16.5 to 21 were hired for 15 years and were entitled to pension. 

Several parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have witnessed protests, which have spread to BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Haryana too. In Haryana, mobile internet and SMS were snapped in Palwal district following violence by protesters.

The government has put out a "myths-versus-facts" defence of the scheme and assured recruits they will not find themselves in the lurch after completing their four years in the military.

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