Have coaching centres played a role in the Agnipath protests? Here’s what we know so far

Arson and violence has been witnessed on a large-scale across the country over the Agnipath scheme for soldiers in the Armed Forces. Trucks and buses have been burnt, stone-pelting and vandalism has been reported from various corners of the country. Police officials have said that the protests, which has resulted in the destruction and damage of public and private property, have been fuelled by owners and employees of coaching centres who prepare defence service aspirants for their entrance examinations. In the case of the arson at Secunderabad Railway Station on 17 June, Anuradha, Superintendent of Police (GRP), was quoted as saying that protesters had been allegedly provoked by some of the Army recruitment coaching academies for the violence. In Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh, authorities have arrested owners/managers of at least nine coaching centres. Similar allegations have been levelled against coaching centres by police. We trace the link between the coaching centres and the violence in the country over the Agnipath protests. Bihar There are several coaching centres spread across Bihar, where these youths undergo physical training and written tutorials for the Armed Forces. These coaching centres play a crucial role in the admission of youths who aspire to enroll into the Army. As the recruitment from Bihar is high, the state has emerged as a coaching hub for thousands of aspirants, who are now out on the streets. Officials have noted that many of these coaching centres believe they will be out of business owing to the Agnipath scheme, and hence, started posting videos on social media criticising the short-service recruitment model. One video shows a Patna coaching centre owner as saying: “First of all, you revolt against ToD (Tour of Duty) at every level possible. Revolt completely. Do not spare any level. If you want to show your ‘josh’, your courage and motivation, show it to the government, and not to your mummy or papa.” Another video has another coaching centre educator as asking aspirants to emulate the JP Andolan of 1974. “India is going through another JP Andolan. There is a fire in youth. You keep recruitments shut for four years and then bring a scheme, which has no head and tail… I don’t support this scheme,” the video shows. On Sunday, news agency ANI reported that the Bihar Police has pointed to the role of three coaching centres in the violence that took place during protests against the Agnipath recruitment scheme. “Information gathered from mobile phones of those arrested from Masaurhi yesterday reveals involvement of three coaching centres, FIR registered. 23 FIRs registered, 147 arrests made so far,” Dr Chandrashekhar Singh, district magistrate of Patna, told news agency ANI . Telangana On Saturday, the Telangana Police arrested Avula Subba Rao, a retired havaldar of the Army, who now runs the Sai Defense Academy at Narsaraopet in Andhra Pradesh. As of date, Rao’s academy has nine branches across the state. Officials have reported Avula Subba Rao allegedly instigated the youth to protest against the defence ministry’s new recruitment scheme, Agnipath, in Secunderabad on Friday, in which a 21-year-old Army aspirant, D Rakesh, died and 15 others were injured. Cops said that many of the youths who turned up at the Secunderabad railway station on Friday and indulged in violence and arson are from his academy. A report by Hindustan Times said that Avula Subba Rao had created a WhatsApp group called Hakimpet Army Soldiers in which he sent messages to all of them to take part in the agitation at Secunderabad railway station. In audio messages sent in the Hakimpet Army Soldiers group, one of the members is heard asking all those attending the protest to carry tyres, old clothes and a bottle of fuel. “Unless we register our protest, no one will listen to our plight. Our issue needs to be highlighted at any cost,” a member is heard saying. Uttar Pradesh News agency PTI reported that nine operators of coaching centres in Aligarh have been arrested for their role in the violence that broke out in the state against the Agnipath scheme. Police claim the owners/managers of these coaching centres allegedly “circulated provocative and inciteful messages on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, etc which led to spread of violence”. The Print, accessing one of the FIRs filed by the police read: “Reliable sources have informed that managers running coaching centres have sent the aspirants (for protests) after conspiracy with anarchic elements.” Aligarh Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani said, “The coaching operators had provoked the anti-social elements and triggered to carry out such acts during the protests amidst the (armed forces) aspirants.” With inputs from agencies Read all the Latest News , Trending News ,  Cricket News , Bollywood News , India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .

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