Heavy police deployment in cities and railway stations was made across several states, and Section 144 was imposed in many areas ahead of the Bharat Bandh call by various organisations. (Representational Image: DC)
New Delhi: The movement of nearly 600 trains was affected on Monday due to the "Bharat Bandh" called by the angry protesters opposing the Centre’s new short-term military recruitment scheme "Agnipath", but normal life remained largely undisrupted across the country as offices, schools and other educational institutions remained open. The call for the Bharat Bandh came at a time when the Army issued its first notification for the "Agniveer" recruitment rallies, registration for which opens from July.
Heavy police deployment in cities and railway stations was made across several states, and Section 144 was imposed in many areas ahead of the Bharat Bandh call by various organisations. The police video-graphed protests in a few places and several people were arrested.
With hundreds of trains getting cancelled, passengers had a harrowing time reaching their destinations. Commuters were stuck in a heavy jam at the Delhi-Gurgaon and Delhi-Noida borders due to security checks and the barricades put up by the police. The Gautam Buddh Nagar police said prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC were in place in the district and asked people to not engage in any activity which disrupts law and order.
Defending the new recruitment scheme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said many decisions may seem "unpleasant" at present but over time the entire country experiences their "benefits". "The path of reforms will take us to new milestones," Mr Modi said while speaking in Bengaluru.
In Bihar, which has seen the highest level of violence related to these protests, Internet services were shut down in 20 districts as a precautionary measure. In Haryana, a group of job aspirants blocked the Lal Batti Chowk in Fatehabad, while several others staged a protest on the roads in Rohtak district. All coaching institutes have been asked to shut down in Haryana’s Jhajjar and Mahendragarh districts, besides the imposition of Section 144 in the districts. Farmers’ leader Rakesh Tikait has announced that his group, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, will hold protests against the "Agnipath" scheme on June 24 at various places in Haryana.
In Punjab, the police has been asked to monitor the activities of social media groups which are allegedly mobilising or spreading instigating information about the scheme. There was hardly any impact of the bandh in West Bengal, where normal life continued as usual, while in neighbouring Jharkhand a number of schools had been closed.