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Amidst bandh call over Agnipath, Kerala police has stern warning for protesters

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 20: Amidst widespread protests in the country against the Centre's 'Agnipath', an army recruitment scheme, and calls for Bharat Bandh on June 20 by some organisations, Kerala police on Sunday said its entire force would be on duty to arrest anyone engaging in violence or destruction of public property.

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Amidst bandh call over Agnipath, Kerala police has stern warning for protesters

State police chief (SPC) Anil Kant issued guidelines to the personnel to prevent violence against the public as well as forced closure of businesses, a release issued by the State Police Media Centre said, according to news agency PTI.

The SPC directed district police chiefs to ensure protection to courts, KSEB offices, KSRTC, private buses as well as government offices and institutions on June 20, it said.

Besides that, police would also be putting up pickets and patrolling important locations from tonight, the release said.

It further said Kant directed the district police chiefs to coordinate the security arrangements through the Range DIGs and Regional IGs and that the Law Department has ordered strict action against those resorting to violence.

Initially, under the 'Agnipath' scheme, youths aged between 17-and-a-half and 21 were to be recruited in the Army, Navy and the Air Force, largely on a four-year short-term contractual basis.

Subsequently, the Centre raised the upper age limit for recruitment under the scheme to 23 years for 2022 as protests against it intensified.

Thereafter, the Central government also announced several incentives including reserving 10 per cent vacancies in its paramilitary and the Defence Ministry for Agnipath retirees and said it would look into any grievance about the new military recruitment scheme "with an open mind'.

Those recruited under the scheme would be known as 'Agniveers'.

After the completion of the four-year tenure, 25 per cent of the recruits from each batch would be offered regular service.

The announcement of the new scheme came in the backdrop of recruitment into the military remaining stalled for over two years.

The Army recruits 50,000 to 60,000 soldiers annually. However, the recruitment could not take place for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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