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NSUI hits varsity trail with Agnipath protest in AP


Even as the government has rolled out the Agnipath scheme, the National Students Union of India (NSUI) has intensified its protests in Andhra Pradesh. The student organisation led agitations in three universities over three days.

Setting out on a ‘Students Satyagrah’ from Krishna Devaraya University on Monday, the protests reached Ananthapur, Sri Venkateshwara University, Tirupati on Tuesday and Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntoor on Wednesday.

NSUI National General Secretary Nagesh Kariyappa said that the central government should do a rethink on the Agnipath recruitment scheme in the armed forces. “The government should rethink about the length of service, provision of no pension for those released early, and the 17.5 to 21 age restriction that now makes around 35 lakh aspirants ineligible for the post, We will raise this issue on the streets, in the parliament and if necessary will go to the court, we got huge response in all the 3 universities we reached in last 3 days,” he stated.

Several students along with army aspirants participated in Tiranga rally inside the campus of Nagarjuna University on Wednesday followed by a signature campaign. Nagesh said that they will take the agitation to every university of the state by July 5. NSUI along with the leadership of the Congress will take up the issue in parliament and state assembly too, he added.

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Key accused in Secunderabad violence identified


Railway Police have identified key accused in June 17 violence at Secunderabad railway station here.

Madhusudhan, 20, has been named as the accused number one in the case. He hails from Yellareddy in Kamareddy district.

The police revealed this in the remand report submitted in the court. It concluded that the violence to protest against the Agnipath scheme for army recruitment was pre-planned.

The police stated that some private coaching institutes instigated army job aspirants to violence. WhatsApp groups were created to incite the youth and mobilise them, taking inspiration from violence that had occurred at railway stations in Bihar over the same issue.

The police named 56 as accused in the cases registered in connection with the violence. While 46 accused have already been arrested, search was on for the remaining accused.

According to police, about 2,000 protestors entered the state through gate number three. Some of them were armed with sticks and petrol bottles. They reached all platforms and resorted to stone pelting and damaged a few train coaches.

The protestors set afire four coaches of three trains. They tried to set afire two locomotives which had huge quantities of fuel. As they did not heed to the warnings to disperse, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) opened fire. One person was killed and 12 injured in the firing.

Meanwhile, police have reportedly picked up five persons who were administrators of the WhatsApp groups. Through these groups, the youth were given directions where and when to reach for the protest.

In a related development, intelligence agencies on Monday conducted searches at Sai Defence Academy in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Sleuths of the central intelligence conducted searches at the Academy’s branch in Narasaraopet in Planadu district. They questioned Director A. Subba Rao, an ex-serviceman who has already been detained by the police for questioning for his alleged role in Secunderabad violence.

Meanwhile, parents of the youths arrested by the Railway Police made a beeline to Chanchalguda Central Prison in Hyderabad to meet them. Some of them were seen crying after meeting their children. They claimed that their children are innocent. They said they had no knowledge that they would be going to Secunderabad station for protest.

Parents of the arrested youth said there should be thorough investigation to find out the real culprits.

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Telangana Minister to visit IIIT Basara as students continue protest


Telangana’s Education Minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy will visit the Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge and Technologies (RGUKT) in Nirmal district where students continued their protest for the seventh day on Monday to press for their demands.

Braving rains, students of RGUKT, popularly known as IIIT Basara, continued the sit-in at the main gate of the building.

They are protesting over poor quality of food and demanding improvement of other basic amenities and also appointing a regular Vice Chancellor.

They were holding placards and raising slogans to highlight their 12 demands.

The talks held by District Collector Musharraf Ali Farooqi and RGUKT Director Satish Kumar with the students continued till 3 a.m. but failed to resolve the deadlock.

The students are insisting that a statement be issued from the Chief Minister’s office or Education Minister Indra Reddy or Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao give a written assurance to solve their problems.

Though the Collector and Director assured the students that their problems would be solved, the students demanded that this assurance should come either from the CMO or the ministers.

Since no assurance came from the CMO or the ministers, the students decided to continue the protest. Police have made tight security to prevent any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, Sabitha Indra Reddy is leaving for IIIT Basara to hold direct talks with the agitating students to resolve the issue.

Earlier, the minister had reportedly termed the demands of the students as “silly” evoking strong protest from them.

The students have complained that the food being served in the hostel mess is of poor quality. They alleged that on several occasions, small insects and frogs were found in the food.

Students of the Telangana University in Nizamabad also staged a protest to express solidarity with IIIT Basara students. They slammed the state government for neglecting the state-run universities while opening the doors for private universities.

State BJP chief Bandi Sanjay also hit out at the state government for doing nothing to address the demands of the students even after six days. In an open letter to Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Sanjay said the Chief Minister had time to form a political party but no time to discuss and solve the problems of students.

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Secunderabad station violence: Suspected conspirator detained


Andhra Pradesh Police on Saturday detained a person who runs a private defence academy in the Telugu states on the suspicion that he was the conspirator in Friday’s violence at Secunderabad railway station.

Avula Subba Rao was detained in Prakasam district. He is likely to be handed over to the Railway Police for questioning.

Rao, an ex-serviceman, runs Sai Defence Academy branches in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Railway Police, with the help of the police in both the states, are probing the alleged role of some private defence academies, which train armed forces job aspirants.

The directors of some private academies are suspected to have provoked the youth and mobilised them by creating WhatsApp groups.

They created WhatsApp groups like Hakimpet Army Soldiers, Secunderabad Railway Station Blocks, and 17/6 to circulate messages to the youth to reach the railway station for the protest.

Subba Rao is suspected to have played a key role in inciting youth. Similarly, the organiser of an academy in Karimnagar is also suspected to have mobilised the youth.

Railway and police authorities were caught unawares as more than 1,000 youth on Friday morning barged into Secunderabad railway station and went on rampage, burning train coaches, damaging parcel goods, and ransacking stalls.

Railway Police had opened fire to quell the violence, resulting in the death of one army aspirant and injuries to some others.

Police have arrested more than 50 suspects for the violence. They were brought to Gandhi Hospital amid tight security for medical check-up and are likely to be produced before a magistrate later.

Secunderabad Railway Police booked cases against those who indulged in violence. The accused were booked for attempt to murder, unlawful assembly and rioting.

Hyderabad police late Friday announced that they will probe the conspiracy angle in the violence that rocked Secunderabad railway station on Friday during the protest against the Central government’s army recruitment scheme Agnipath.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner C.V. Anand has directed Additional Commissioner, Crimes & SIT, and Deputy Commissioner Task Force to closely monitor the criminal cases registered by Railway Police Force, Secunderabad.

The top officials have been asked to find out the “objective, conspiracy and detailed planning which was done to create such violent incidents and damage the railway properties”.

Meanwhile, there was high drama at Gandhi Hospital on Saturday evening when Telangana Congress chief and MP A. Revanth Reddy sneaked into the hospital despite tight security to meet the youth who were injured in the police firing at Secunderabad station.

As police had stepped up security at the main entrance to stop Revanth Reddy, he entered the premises from the rear entrance and called on the youth and enquired about their condition.

In another development, the State Human Rights Commission has taken suo moto note of Friday’s violence and sought a detailed report from the police.

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Vizag railway station shut, high alert at Guntur


Railway authorities on Saturday closed the Visakhapatnam railway station and beefed up security at all other major stations in Andhra Pradesh as a precautionary measure to prevent protests against the Central government’s Agnipath military recruitment scheme.

Following intelligence alerts about army aspirants planning massive protests, authorities have shut down the station and stopped the trains at 7 a.m.

Officials said the station will remain closed till noon.

Passengers were allowed into the station till 7 a.m. after thorough checking. Later, the authorities declared the station will remain closed for all.

All trains coming from Vijayawada were being stopped or diverted at the Duvvada railway station on the outskirts. Trains coming from Howrah were being stopped or diverted at Kothavalasa.

Meanwhile, a high alert was sounded at the Guntur railway station following reports that youth aspiring to join the army are planning a huge protest.

Authorities beefed up the security and were allowing passengers to enter the premises only after checking their tickets.

At least 20 youths who were heading towards the Guntur station were arrested by police at Kothapet.

The alert was sounded in view of reports messages were being circulated on WhatsApp for the planned protest at Guntur station.

Security was also beefed up at Vijayawada, Kurnool, Tirupati and other major railway stations in Andhra Pradesh as a precautionary measure in the wake of violent protests at the Secunderabad railway station on Friday.

Large scale violence rocked Secunderabad station as hundreds of youth went on a rampage, setting afire trains, goods and vandalizing the station.

One person was killed and four others were injured when the railway police opened fire to control the situation.

After the protest lasting for more than nine hours, police arrested the youth.

Train services resumed late Friday.

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Protest against Agnipath continues at violence-hit Secunderabad station


The protest by hundreds of youth against the Centre’s new Army recruitment policy Agnipath continued at Secunderabad railway station on Friday.

Insisting that the government announce scrapping of the new policy, the protesters remained squatted on the railway track for more than six hours.

Top officials of railway and law and order police were holding talks with the youth to convince them to call off the protest. They offered to take a delegation to Army recruitment authorities for talks but the protesting youth were insisting that Army recruitment officials come to the station for the talks.

“We will not leave this place till our demands are met. We are ready to sit for three days and even a week,” said one of the protesters.

South Central Railway (SCR) officials said they have suspended all train services on the route as a precautionary measure.

One of the biggest railway stations in the country, Secunderabad was rocked by violence as the youth went on rampage, setting fire to trains or damaging them and vandalising the station.

A person was killed and four others were injured when police opened fire to control the protesters, who were pelting stones and targeting railway property. They also dumped various goods being transported by a train on the railway track and set them afire.

Two-wheelers, eggs, fish, documents and other items being transported were torched or damaged by the protesters.

According to eye-witnesses, more than 1,000 youth began the protest around 9 a.m. with a sit-in near the railway station. They were raising slogans against the Central government and demanding scrapping of Agnipath. Soon they started attacking buses of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC).

The protesters then entered the railway station and began damaging the property. Railway police personnel deployed at the station were outnumbered by the protesters. Soon the violence spread to various platforms and the passengers ran out for safety.

Personnel of Railway Protection Force, Government Railway Police, Hyderabad city police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) rushed to the station to bring the situation under control.

As the protesters continued to indulge in violence and pelted stones, the police retaliated with firing of rubber bullets and teargas shells.

Additional forces were rushed to the area which resembled a battle zone. SCR authorities cancelled all the trains. With the TSRTC buses also being targeted outside the station, the corporation suspended bus services in the area.

Raising slogans against the central government, the agitators also torched bogies of four trains on the station, stalls, display boards and other railway property.

Four bogies of East Coast Express, Ajanta Express and Rajkot Express were partially burnt.

The protesters, who were raising slogans of “Jai jawan Jai kisan” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, demanded that the government scrap the recently announced scheme and continue the existing system of recruitment.

The youth were angry that the government cancelled the recruitment examination for which they had been preparing for the last 3-4 years. They said their protest would continue till the Centre scraps the new scheme.

Following the large-scale violence, an alert was sounded at all railway stations in Telangana. Security was tightened at Nampally, Kacheguda and other railway stations in Hyderabad.

Forces were also rushed to Kazipet and Jangaon railway stations as a precautionary measure.

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72 trains cancelled following violence at Secunderabad station


Railway authorities have cancelled as many as 72 trains following large-scale violence that rocked Secunderabad railway station on Friday.

The South Central Railway (SCR) also partially cancelled 12 trains and diverted three others.

All trains originating from Secunderabad or passing through the station were cancelled following violent protest by hundreds of youth against the Central government’s new army recruitment policy “Agnipath”.

A SCR official said train services were suspended to ensure safety of the travelling public.

The cancellation of trains and the confusion that prevailed about operation of some trains caused severe inconvenience to passengers.

The cancelled trains include Hyderabad-Shalimar, Umdanagar-Secunderabad, Secunderabad-Umdanagar, and Secunderabad-Sainagar Shirdi.

Secunderabad-Repalle, which was to originate at Secunderabad, originated at Cherlapalli station.

Howrah-Secunderabad, Sirpur Kaghaznagar-Secunderabad, Hyderabad-Kurnool City and Guntur-Vikarabad were partially cancelled.

East Coast Railway announced cancellation of Danapur-Secunderabad and Patna-Ernakulam trains.

The SCR has set up a special help desk. Passengers can reach out to Help Desk No 040-27786666 for updates on train cancellations/ diversions and partial cancellations of trains.

The SCR also cancelled 66 MMTS trains or suburban local trains following the violence.

The protestors set afire bogies of at least four trains, vandalised the station and also torched goods being transported in trains.

One person was killed and four others injured when police opened fire to control the situation.

The protestors continued their sit-in on the tracks at the station for more than six hours.

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