On the third day, the protests around the Agnipath project became more violent. At least a dozen trains have been burnt across the country so far. Protests have spread to South India as well. A 19-year-old boy has been killed in a clash over protests in Secunderabad, Telangana. Multiple media outlets claim he was shot dead by police. R. Hari Kumar, one of the members of the team responsible for planning the Agnipath project, said he could not have imagined that such a protest could take place.
Statistics of damages
All the anger of the protesters seems to have fallen on the railways. At least 340 trains have been disrupted since the protests began on Wednesday. Mail and Express combined 94 trains and 140 passenger trains were cancelled, 95 trains could not complete the journey. 11 trains have been diverted. Appealing to the youth, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “Don’t waste railway property. Rail is government property.” According to official sources, the railways have lost at least 20 crore rupees in the last three days.
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Protests in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh continued yesterday. At the same time, it has started spreading in West Bengal, Orissa and Telangana. A couple of thousand protesters gathered outside Secunderabad station around 9 am yesterday. It is believed that they were gathered after spreading the message on social media. This mob entered the station and started rioting. Platform furniture, shops were crumbling. East Coast Express, Rajkot Express, Ajanta Express were burning one by one.There were still forty passengers on a train. There were also several children. RPF quickly brought them out. There were their bags, half-eaten food packets lying in the compartment. Railway workers allege that protesters tried to set fire to a train’s generator car too. In that case, the situation could be dire. Police retreated at first, but later fired rounds into the air along with lathicharge. At least 15 protesters were injured. The 19-year-old boy from the Warangal city is claimed to have been shot dead.
BJP leader’s stance
The Internet has been shut down in 12 districts of Bihar till Sunday. The houses of Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi and Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal were attacked in Bettiah yesterday. Neither of the two leaders was at home at the time. However, Renu’s house was badly damaged. Another BJP office was set on fire in Madhepura yesterday after Nawada the previous day. Renu said, “This hypocrisy is going on at the instigation of the opposition parties. Otherwise, what is the point of attacking the BJP leaders selectively?”
Behea, Kulhariya, Begusarai, Samastipur, Lakhminia – one after another protests were going on yesterday at these stations. The Jammu-Tawai Guwahati Express was set on fire at Mahiuddin Nagar station in Samastipur area yesterday. Two more compartments of a train were burnt at Lakhisarai. According to the railway authorities, Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh are among the worst affected areas in the East Central Railway.