By RISHI LEKHI Associated Press
NEW DELHI (AP) – Young members of India’s main opposition congressional party clashed with police in a street protest on Friday demanding jobs as the country’s economy recovers from a lockdown in the coronavirus last year which triggered massive unemployment.
They also urged people not to celebrate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 71st birthday on Friday.
About 150 Congress supporters marching behind a large banner that read “Government, give jobs to young people” attempted to break down police barricades preventing them from marching to government offices in New Delhi.
Police arrested protesters and took them to a bus. They were due to be released later Friday.
The Center for Monitoring the Indian Economy, a private think tank, said that in August 2021 India’s unemployment rate stood at 8.32% and youth unemployment was around 27.7%.
JP Nadda, chairman of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, described Modi as a social reformer.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said 10 million people will receive COVID-19 vaccines on Friday as part of Modi’s birthday celebrations.
A massive 23.9% economic contraction in the April-June quarter of last year due to the pandemic lockdown caused millions of people in small and medium-sized businesses to lose their jobs and plunge the country in a recession.