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Over 80 trains cancelled amid Agnipath protests

New Delhi : Over 80 trains have been cancelled on Monday amid the protests in various parts of the country against the new recruitment scheme in the Armed Forces. A total of 18 East-bound train services scheduled from different Northern Railway terminals have been cancelled today, according to Northern Railways.It further informed that as many as 71 Delhi area-bound commuter trains (including return services) have also been dismissed for today in the wake of the protests against the Centre's Agnipath recruitment scheme. Train services of the Western Railway zone were affected yesterday as well. Security has been beefed up in several states on Monday amid protests against the Centre's new Agnipath recruitment scheme. After the policy, which allows Indian youths to serve in the regular cadre of the Armed Forces for a period of four years, was announced on June 14, protests erupted in various states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand and Assam. As the agitation intensified in some places, protestors went on the rampage setting trains on fire, torching vehicles and damaging both private and public properties. Congress will also hold "peaceful" protests across the country on Monday against the "anti-youth" Agnipath recruitment scheme. Taking to Twitter, Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications Jairam Ramesh said on Sunday, "Tomorrow lakhs of Congress workers across the country will continue peaceful protests against the anti-youth Agnipath scheme and against Modi government's vendetta politics targeting its MP Rahul Gandhi." Several organisations will stage protests against the Agnipath scheme at Jantar Mantar in the national capital today. Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai too will join the protest. "A joint movement will be organized at Jantar Mantar in Delhi at 11 am on June 20 against the Agnipath scheme," Rai had said in a tweet on Friday. A total of 46,000 Agniveers will be recruited this year but a top military officer said it will go up to 1.25 lakhs in near future. The entry age for all new recruits in the Armed Forces has been fixed as 17.5 to 21 years of age. However, following protests, the Central government announced an increase in the upper age limit for the recruitment of Agniveers from 21 years to 23 years for the recruitment cycle of 2022 as it has not been possible to undertake the recruitment during the last two years. In Rajasthan's Jaipur, prohibitory orders under section 144 have been imposed from 6 pm on Sunday till midnight of August 18 in the view of the possibility of disturbance to law and order due to the protests.

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