The Andhra police has arrested Avula Subba Rao, a retired havaldar of the Army who runs several coaching centres, on charges of instigating aspirants against the scheme, while the Secunderabad railway police arrested 45 people on Saturday for turning the city’s railway station into a battle zone on Friday.
In Bihar, an FIR has been lodged against two coaching centres after violent clashes broke out between a group of protesters and GRP personnel on the Taregna railway station premises on Saturday. Several other coaching centres in Patna and elsewhere in Bihar are on the police radar on the basis of mobile phone data and locations besides video and audio clips.
A senior officer, preferring anonymity, said out of over 700 protesters in Bihar identified from video footage and arrested in the last three days, some had also been part of protests in the state against the Railway Recruitment Board non-technical popular category examination results six months ago. Some coaching centre operators had been accused of instigating students the last time, too.
The Andhra and Telangana police have zeroed in on about 100 candidates undergoing training at Subba Rao’s centres across the Telugu states who were allegedly involved in the protest at Secunderabad. As director of Sai Defence Academy, Subba Rao allegedly sent provocative WhatsApp messages and gave speeches that led to the violence at Secunderabad railway station a day earlier. Rao runs nine training centres. He is being questioned at an undisclosed location.
In Secunderabad, the 45 youths arrested on Saturday had come to the city from different districts of Telangana. Patna DM Chandrashekhar Singh said people were instigated by coaching institutes in Patna. He has ordered an inquiry into the role of the coaching centre operators in the agitation.
Singh told TOI eight coaching centres have been identified for their involvement in the protests, including four in Patna, two in Masaurhi and one each in Paliganj and Maner. “The police have found videos and WhatsApp messages of some coaching centres from those who have been arrested for arson,” Singh said. In one of the videos, a person, allegedly a coaching centre operator, is seen asking students to protest at any level to oppose the Agnipath scheme. “If you want to show passion, masculinity and daring, you will show it in front of the government, not your parents,” the coaching operator purportedly says in the video.
In Patna alone, around eight coaching centres are on the police radar, Patna SSP Manavjit Singh Dhillon said. He claimed their involvement was revealed by the youths arrested for protests.
Sudhir, a teacher at a Patna coaching institute, said his video was wrongly interpreted. “I never asked any student for arson. We are against the Agnipath scheme because it is injustice to students, especially those who cleared written, medical and fitness tests this year. But after modification, we are satisfied,” he said.