Protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme continued on Friday as scores of youngsters descended on the Yamuna Expressway and blocked traffic movement briefly, prompting Gautam Buddh Nagar police to lodge an FIR against 225 protesters and arresting 10, officials said.
They said eight police personnel and a driver of a privately-run bus suffered injuries in violence during the protest in Jewar area of the district, adjoining Delhi in western Uttar Pradesh.
The movement through Jewar toll plaza between Greater Noida and Mathura-Agra was blocked for around an hour from 12 pm, they said. Police personnel in large numbers were rushed to the protest site in view of the law and order situation, a police official said.
A traffic police official said movement was briefly disrupted at the Jewar toll plaza due to the protests and several vehicles were diverted from Pari Chowk. Police Commissioner Alok Singh said in a statement around 1.30 pm that no highway in Noida or Greater Noida was closed due to the protests and vehicular movement was normal across Gautam Buddh Nagar.
Later in the evening, the police said in a statement that it has arrested 10 people and lodged an FIR against 225 people in connection with the protests that obstructed vehicular movement during the day.
“The road was blocked by some chaotic elements, protesting in unison and pelting stones. A private bus parked on the road was vandalized, eight policemen and a bus driver were injured in the incident after which the FIR was lodged at the local Jewar police station,” the police said in the statement.
Of those accused, 75 are named and 225 unnamed, the police said. The FIR has been lodged under Indian Penal Code sections 147, 148, 149 (all related to rioting), 323 (causing hurt), 504 (insult to provoke breach of peace), 332 (causing hurt to deter public servant from duty), 353 (assault on public servant), 336 (endangering others’ life), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 427 (mischief), the police said.
Charges under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1932 have also been invoked in the FIR, according to the statement.
“So far, 10 people have been arrested. Efforts are underway to establish identity of others involved in the violence with the help of CCTV footages, videos and pictures after which strict legal action will be taken against them,” the police said.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Alok Singh and Joint Commissioner (law and order) Love Kumar visited the protest site where they interacted with aspirants of the defence services and explained to them the details of the Agnipath scheme.
The officers also informed the general public and youngsters that they can contact their local police stations in case of any grievance in a peaceful manner and all efforts would be made to resolve it, according to the statement. Protests have erupted in several states since Wednesday against the Agnipath scheme to recruit soldiers 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.