Chennai: The the path of fire Protests spread to the city, where over 500 Army candidates gathered at Dweep Maidan on Saturday demanding that the central government scrap the plan, while train disruptions in Telangana and northern parts of the country made travel uncertain. Railways canceled and restored trains for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and also advised people to check the schedule before reaching the railway stations.
Travel to destinations in the north remained uncertain as trains were being diverted to avoid Visakhapatnam and Secunderabad due to the ongoing protests in Telangana. The airfare for Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Patna ranges from ₹7,000 to ₹11,000. The Railways has reinstated some trains that were canceled on Friday due to the Agneepath protests.
The Railways issued an advisory that due to widespread movement all trains to destinations in Bihar and Eastern UP would be short terminated and informed passengers that travel planning should be done after checking train schedules. In the days to come, trains were either canceled or reduced, making services unreliable.
The candidates were the first to protest in front of the secretariat on Saturday, as many of them appeared for a physical test and certificate verification as part of the Army recruitment drive in 2019. However, the Common Entrance Test (CEE) was postponed due to COVID. -19 pandemic.
The agitators alleged that the central government had not mentioned the relaxation in the age limit for those appearing for the physical test in 2019. “We will not come under the new Agneepath scheme. We had come here to visit the Army Recruiting Office at the Secretariat to know our plight. The police are not letting us inside the office,” said Manohar Pandian of Arni near Tiruvannamalai, who lives in Madipakkam.
The protesters raised slogans with placards in their hands. The placards read: “We want the army to conduct the pending CEE. Go back, Agneepath.”
North Chennai Additional Commissioner of Police TS Anbu interacted with the protesters. However, he refused to leave. Following this, the police detained the protesters at RR Stadium in Egmore.
A senior police officer said, “The protesters were advised about their future. If they refuse to calm down, we will sue them. The protesters released them after cooperating with the police. As per their request, the police arranged some MTC buses to drop them at the Koyambedu bus terminus.
Earlier in the day, police had beefed up security at Chennai Central and Egmore railway stations.
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