Police in northern India fired shots in the air to push back stone-throwing crowds, and authorities shut off mobile internet in at least one district to forestall further chaos as protests widened against a new military recruitment system.

Iran PressAsia: India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has 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 northern Haryana state's Palwal district, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the capital New Delhi, crowds hurled stones at a government official's house, and police protecting the building fired shots to keep the mob at bay, according to video footage from Reuter's partner ANI.

"Yes, we have fired a few shots to control the crowd," a local police official said, declining to be named.

Moreover, Haryana's information department said mobile internet was temporarily suspended in Palwal district for the next 24 hours.

Protesters in eastern India's Bihar state set a BJP office on fire in Nawada city, attacked railway infrastructure, and blocked roads; as demonstrations spread across several parts of the country, police officials told Reuters.

According to officials and a railway statement, protesters also attacked railway property across Bihar, settling alight coaches in at least two locations, damaging train tracks, and vandalizing a station.

The new recruitment system, called Agnipath or "path of fire" in Hindi, will bring in men and women between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 for a four-year tenure at non-officer ranks, with only a quarter retained for more extended periods.

Previously, soldiers have been recruited by the army, navy, and air force separately and typically enter service for up to 17 years for the lowest ranks.


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