At least one person has been killed in protests against a new military hiring process that seeks to bring in recruits between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 for a four-year tenure at non-officer ranks.

India's government has unveiled the new military recruitment system, triggering turmoil with police firing into the air to break up stone-throwing crowds and the torching of railway infrastructure.
India's government has unveiled the new military recruitment system, triggering turmoil with police firing into the air to break up stone-throwing crowds and the torching of railway infrastructure. (AP)

At least one protester has been killed in India's southern city of Secunderabad with demonstrations against a new military recruitment process spreading across the country.

Authorities on Friday imposed restrictions on gatherings in a satellite city of India's capital, which is home to offices of several multinational firms, to forestall demonstrations.

The administration of Gurugram district, south of New Delhi, said no more than four people could gather at one place. 

Some of the world's major companies have offices in Gurugram including Microsoft Corp, Meta and Google Inc. It is also home to manufacturing facilities of major Indian companies like Maruti Suzuki.

In at least three states, protests turned violent as thousands of young men took to the streets.

In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, protests erupted in 14 districts, and police fired into the air to push back stone-throwing crowds, senior police official Prashant Kumar said.

In neighbouring Bihar state, protesters torched train coaches in at least two stations and disrupted rail services, police said.

And hundreds of people gathered in Telangana state's Secunderabad city in the south, clashing with police and setting fire to railway station property, authorities said.

According to Indian media reports, one person died there and 15 were wounded amid reports of violence and arson.

READ MORE: Violent protests erupt in India over short-term military jobs

Point of contention

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government unveiled the new recruitment system this week, called Agnipath or "path of fire" in Hindi, triggering turmoil.

The system aims to bring in more people to the military on short, four-year contracts to lower the average age of India's 1.38 million-strong armed forces and cut down on burgeoning pension costs.

But many potential recruits are objecting, concerned about employment opportunities after serving their four-year terms and disappointed to miss out on a pension. 

The new recruitment system has also drawn criticism from opposition parties, and even from some members of Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, who say it will lead to more unemployment in a country grappling with joblessness.

The government has said the armed forces aim to recruit about 46,000 people under the new system this year, and will keep only 25 percent of them on at the end of their four-year terms.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies