Agnipath Unrest: Army Aspirant Who Lost Life in Police Firing Was a Farmer's Son

Rakesh belonged to Dabeerpet village in Khanapur Mandal of Telangana's Warangal District.

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Twenty-four-year-old Damira Rakesh, an army aspirant, was killed amid violent demonstrations against the Centre's new Agnipath scheme in Telangana's Secunderabad on Friday, 17 June, Hyderabad North zone police told The Quint.

Rakesh belonged to Dabeerpet village in Khanapur Mandal of Telangana's Warangal District. He was declared dead at the Gandhi General Hospital in Hyderabad.

The doctors attempted to resuscitate him, but failed to do so, Raja Rao, superintendent of the hospital, told news agency ANI.

Rakesh was a part of a huge protest at the Secunderabad Railway Station, during which trains were set ablaze by agitators. Police had reportedly fired shots to disperse the youths gathered. According to a few reports Rakesh died because of a bullet fired by the police. However, the hospital hasn't confirmed this yet.

Rakesh was the son of a farmer, Damira Kumaraswamy. An army aspirant, Rakesh had cleared his medical test as a part of the recruitment process and was only one written exam away from joining the armed forces.

He was awaiting the announcement of dates for the Common Entrance Exam (CEE) when the unfortunate incident happened.

Rakesh had come all the way from Warangal to Hyderabad to join hundreds of other youth who were protesting against the Centre's scheme at the Secunderabad railway station.

A total of 12 protesters were injured at this protest in Secunderabad, along with seven police officials.

The injured protesters were brought to Gandhi Hospital. Among the wounded, two underwent surgery as one had received an injury to the chest while the other's femur was fractured, Rao said. The remaining have suffered minor injuries and have been put under observation.

"Rest all are having minor injuries and all are stable, under observation and supportive treatment," he added.


Rakesh had two elder sisters and brothers. His elder sister, an inspiration for him, is in the border security forces and posted in West Bengal, according to reports. The aggrieved parents are trying to reach Hyderabad with their family and relatives.

“The family is inconsolable. Friends, relatives and well-wishers have joined the family at home. The entire village is with them at the moment. After the postmortem examination is over, the police have assured to bring the body here.”
Dabeerpet Sarpanch B Raju told the Indian Express.

Protests At Secunderabad Railway Station

Around 300-350 protesters gathered at the Secunderabad Railway Station on Friday.

The youths set fire to some coaches of three passenger trains at the station.

They also pelted stones and vandalised the railway station, due to which some stalls were damaged. Some other shops near the railway station were also shut amid the protests.

The agitators shouted slogans against the Centre demanding regular recruitment for defence services.

On account of anti-Agnipath scheme protests disrupting train services at Secunderabad Railway Station, the South Central Railways cancelled six trains and partially cancelled some other trains.

A total of 200 train services have been affected due to the ongoing agitation.

Protests over the Agnipath have also been reported from Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana, and Punjab.

The police arrested some protesters at Secunderabad railway station and said that search is still on for other protestors, reported ANI.


What is the Agnipath Scheme?

The scheme allows for the induction of about 45,000 people aged 17.5 to 21 years into the military for a four-year period. Recruitment for the same is supposed to begin in the next 90 days, with the first wave expected to arrive in July 2023.

Only 25 percent of these troops will be retained after four years, and they will serve for a total of 15 years in non-officer ranks.

The remaining employees will receive a package worth Rs 11-12 lakh when they leave the service, but they will not be eligible for pension benefits.

Following protests in several states, the Centre on Thursday increased the upper-age limit for recruitment under the Agnipath scheme from 23 from 21 for 2022.

The scheme is being criticised for its employment of the youth for a short-term period, among other things.

(This story contains inputs from The Indian Express.)

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Topics:  Agnipath Protests 

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