Violent Protests Erupt Across India Amid Military Recruitment Overhaul

(Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)

Brent Foster Contributor
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Violent protests rocked India following the announcement of massive changes to the military recruitment system in the country, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

Agnipath, the new military recruitment system, will cut the service time for most non-officers, who usually serve around 17 years, to four years, Reuters reported. Thousands of young protesters attacked government buildings, blocked highways and set vehicles on fire in response to the new recruitment plan, according to the AP.

The protesters burned railway coaches along with an office of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state of Bihar, according to Reuters. Nearly 25,000 police officers deployed in response to the protests in Bihar, and protestors were dispersed with wooden sticks in the northern Haryana state, according to AP.

The military is an important institution in India as the country faces food shortages and high crude oil prices as well as the continuous threat of conflict with Pakistan.

Agnipath is designed to give recruits trained by the military the opportunity to seek police or private sector employment after their four years of service, the AP reported.

BJP lawmaker Varun Gandhi wrote in a letter to Indian defense minister Rajnath Singh that 75% of Agnipath recruits would be unemployed following their service, according to Reuters. (RELATED: India Says It Fired Missile At Pakistan By Accident, Was ‘Technical Malfunction’)

Rahul Gandhi of the opposition Indian National Congress Party said the government should “listen to the voice of the unemployed youth of the country,” according to AP.