PDP, BSP, Cong lodge protest; seek roll back on Agnipath Scheme

BSP activists staging protest against Agnipath Scheme in Jammu on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
BSP activists staging protest against Agnipath Scheme in Jammu on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, June 22: While lodging strong protest against BJP Governments’ new Agnipath Scheme for recruitment in Armed forces, the PDP, BSP and Congress demanded immediate roll back of this scheme.

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The PDP leadership while terming the much-publicised “Agnipath” scheme as another cruel joke with the unemployed youth of the country, demanded that it should be withdrawn without any more delay.
PDP activists under the leadership of Harmesh Singh Slathia, additional general secretary of the party held a peaceful demonstration against this anti-youth scheme in Jammu. PDP asked the Union Government to immediately withdraw the “Agnipath scheme” because it is not good for the youth. PDP leaders criticized the BJP-led Central Government and pointed out that from time to time this regime has started anti-people schemes.
PDP leaders regretted that instead of addressing the concern shown by the agitating youth against the scheme, the Government is shamelessly adopting aggressive means to gag the voice of those who are opposing this scheme.
Criticizing the Modi Government over the scheme, PDP leaders pointed out that for the first time in 75 years, service chiefs were being asked to defend a government’s policy decision. Lambasting the Centre over Agnipath Scheme, PDP leaders said government is not working for the poor and youth but for big industrialists.
BL Dogra, Sukhvinder Singh, Rajinder Manhas, Ashok Jogi, Satpal Charark, Peter, Balbir Singh, Sohit Sharma, Varinder Singh, Surjeet Kour and several others joined the protest.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) activists today held strong protest against the Modi Govt’s anti- youth Agnipath Scheme of recruitment in Armed forces.
A large number of BSP leaders and activists led by J&K UT president, SR Majotra assembled at Press Club in Jammu and held protest demonstration against BJP Govt for launch of anti-youth recruitment scheme in the country. They were raising anti- BJP slogans demanding immediate roll back of this scheme.
They pointed out that during past three years several recruitment processes took place in the country but their final result is yet awaited. The Government must release the pending lists. They feared that BJP Govt might have cancelled all the pending lists and now after elections they have come out with new recruitment scheme. They have just befooled youth of this country.
Majotra demanded that Modi Govt should immediately review its decision and withdraw this scheme in the best interests of the youth of this country. He also demanded that non-Muslim employees posted in Kashmir must be shifted to Jammu Province for their safety.
Senior leaders Charanjeet Chargotra, Pritam Chand, Darshan Rana, Kartar Chand and others were also present on the occasion.
The J&K Pradesh Youth Congress has alleged that Modi Government is playing with the tradition of dignity-tradition-discipline of the Indian Armed Forces. Regular recruitment in armies stopped Army recruitment on contract for 4 years is not a pleasant message for the security of the country.
Talking to media-persons Uday Bhanu Chib, president JK PYC said that today the Modi Cabinet announced a four-year army recruitment in the three armies of the country and packaging it in its familiar style and described the four-year “contract army recruitment” as “Agniveer”.
He said the provisions of this four-year contract army recruitment to be done in the three services.  The total service in the army including training will be only four years with contract salary. At the end of four years, a lump sum amount will be given. No gratuity or pension will be available on withdrawal after four years of service. The person with this four-year recruitment will not get the benefit of Military canteen, nor the benefit of ECHS i.e. any kind of health facility. After four years of service, only 25 percent of the people have the chance to do regular service in the army.  75 percent will have to go back home.
Military experts, top officials of the three services have expressed deep concern over this entire scheme of the Modi government.  More than one army officer and experts have said that this decision of the Modi government is playing with the dignity, tradition, sense of belonging and discipline of the Indian Armed Forces.
Defense experts also believe that 4-year contract recruitment is not a proper message for the security of the country.  This decision is going to compromise somewhere on the efficiency, dexterity, ability, effectiveness and capability of the three services.  The most worrying thing is what will happen to the future of these young soldiers after four years?  All this is being done when India has two active borders and the country is constantly fighting on the border with Pakistan and China.
PYC chief said more than 2,55,000 posts are lying vacant in the three armies of the country.  The Modi government has stopped the recruitment of forces for 2 years.  There is a lot of restlessness among the youth. Is this scheme made only with the aim of reducing salary, pension, health benefits and canteen services etc.?  Has the Modi government banned the recruitment of all three forces for two years because of this?  If it is true, is it the right message for the security of the country?
When our borders with two neighbouring countries are active, Pakistan’s border on one side and China’s border on the other – then is it in the country’s interest to do contract recruitment for four years by banning regular recruitment? Most of the posts in Navy and Air Force are technical and they need a specialist cadre.  The duration of training in this specialist cadre is only 1.5 to 2 years and some time is also spent in knowing and understanding the advanced equipments.  In such a situation, how will you give training and after four years how will you leave these trained people?
Ricky Dalotra vice president, Jahazaib Sarewal National media coordinator IYC, Latish Sharma and  Divyansh Jamwal  secretary were also present.