Angry crowds in India set an office of the country’s ruling party on fire

Angry crowds in India set an office of the country’s ruling party on fire

Angry crowds in India set an office of the country’s ruling party on fire, attacked railway infrastructure and blocked roads in widening protests against a new military recruitment system, police officials said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on Tuesday announced an overhaul of recruitment for India’s 1.38 million-strong armed forces, looking to bring down the average age of personnel and reduce pension expenditure.

But potential recruits, military veterans, opposition leaders and even some members of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have raised reservations over the revamped process.

In eastern India’s Bihar state, where protests flared in around a dozen locations, thousands gathered in Nawada district to demonstrate against the new recruitment system, police official Gaurav Mangla said on Thursday.

“They torched a BJP office, torched tyres in three prominent areas of the city, damaged a bus and many private vehicles,” Mangla told the Reuters news agency.

Protesters also attacked railway property across Bihar, settling alight coaches in at least two locations, damaging train tracks and vandalising a station, according to officials and a railways statement.Police said protests also took place in northern Haryana state and western Rajasthan – both traditional recruiting areas for the Indian military – and in various districts of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state.

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