Agnipath Row: Key Accused in Secunderabad Railway Station Arson Case Arrested
Avula Subba Rao had allegedly mobilised army aspirants through multiple WhatsApp groups.
The Quint DAILY
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Avula Subba Rao, an ex-serviceman who allegedly masterminded the arson that took place at Secunderabad railway station during protests against the Centre's Agnipath recruitment scheme on 17 June, was arrested, the Telangana Railway Police said on Saturday, 25 June reported PTI.
Rao, who now runs a defense academy out of Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district, had previously served in the army as a nursing assistant.
He was arrested with three other accomplices on Friday, after being detained for questioning on 18 June, a day after the violence.
"After questioning him and ascertaining his role in the case, our task force police force handed him over to the GRP who formally arrested him and produced him before the railway court for judicial remand," Hyderabad Police Commissioner CV Anand told Hindustan Times.
Agitations in Secunderabad escalated to brutal violence after the police allegedly opened fire on protesters at the railway station. The protests left a 24-year-old dead and many others injured.
What Led to the Protests?
After the Centre's announcement of the Agnipath scheme and the cancellation of written exams for those who wanted to be recruited into the army, aspirants decided to take out a rally to the Army Recruitment Office (ARO). However, Rao and some others reportedly created WhatsApp groups to tell people to gather at the railway station, as per PTI.
"Through various WhatsApp groups and social media posts, he mobilised the job aspirants, telling them that the Agnipath scheme would spoil their future. He provided logistics for them to reach the railway station, apart from supplying food and water bottles to the protesters," Hindustan Times quoted a senior police official as saying.
A release by the Telangana Railway Police alleged that the steps were taken as Subba Rao and other academies feared loss of business over the scheme, adding that Rao took Rs 3 lakh as donation from those applying to his institute.
"He designed this programme and provoked Army aspirants because the Defence Academies will be at risk of closure due to Agnipath scheme. They are losing huge money because of this... To create an impact on the Indian government for recalling Agnipath, he chose this way by supporting the agitators and providing logistics," the release explained, reported PTI.
(With inputs from PTI and Hindustan Times.)
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