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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], June 19 (ANI): A day after protestors gathered at the War Memorial in Chennai protesting against the Agnipath recruitment scheme for the Defence Forces, the police on Sunday blocked the road near the Memorial to avoid any untoward situation arising at the place.

Earlier on Saturday, hundreds of youth gathered at Chennai War Memorial near TN Secretariat and staged a protest raising slogans against Agnipath Defence Scheme.

Following the incident, the police detained all the protesters yesterday and took steps by blocking roads towards War Memorial from today.

Chennai Police security deployed by placing barricades on all roads leading to War Memorial, Secretariat.

Where the roads are also closed, vehicles are being diverted to other routes.

Earlier today, a top army official urged the youth to "start preparing" instead of "wasting their time" by taking to the streets.

Earlier today, the top officials of the Indian Army, Navy and Airforce held a joint press briefing here wherein they explained the benefits of the Agnipath Scheme and clarified that the programme would not be rolled back.

Speaking to ANI, Lt Gen Anil Puri, Addt'l Secy, Dept of Military Affairs, said, "By going to the streets, they are only wasting their time, they should spend this time to get themselves physically ready. The worst issue is that today we are not what we were 10 years back. Everything is interconnected. Why roger your future? It's not worth it. I appeal to them to start preparing."The officer, while explaining the motive of the scheme, said that it was designed keeping the youth in mind.

"We have thought through the scheme which has been designed keeping the youth of the country in mind. We know that in the coming days that the youth of the country will be less than 25 years, 50 per cent of them. And the Indian Army has to be reflective of this," Lt Gen Puri said.

Mentioning the protests that turned violent in various parts of the country, the officer said that they never thought that the "youth will damage the government property" though they knew that there may be some anger because of the change in the recruitment procedure.

"We know that all these problems (protests) may happen. Anger comes when change happens but we never thought youth will damage govt property... Anger and arson are two different things," he said.

When asked about the appropriate place where the youth can express their opinion and anger against the scheme, the Army officer said that there are various recruitment centres across the country where they can be informed about the new procedure of recruitment properly.

"There are 112 recruitment centres, 84 of the Army. All they have to do is knock the door and ask about the scheme. They are stopping themselves because somebody is stopping them," he said. (ANI)

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