INDIA. Mumbai: Even as some political parties observed “Bharat Bandh” demanding a rollback of the “Agnipath Recruitment Scheme” on Monday, three service chiefs are likely to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to brief him about their plan for its implementation on Tuesday.
On Monday Congressmen led by the AICC General Secretary Ajay Maken held “ Satyagraha” at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to demand that the President should withdraw the Agnipath scheme.
Over 500 trains were cancelled amid nationwide protests and Internet services were suspended in 20 districts of Bihar. In Mumbai, the reservations were cancelled and no postponed date was given to the passengers.
While over 800 miscreants indulged in the torching of trains and other public property have been arrested across the country, the Patna (Bihar) Police raided various locations connected to Bihar’s Danapur violence accused Guru Rahman, on Monday. The searches were made at his residence and his coaching centre in Patna.
The raids were initiated after a video went viral on June 17 in which Rahman was allegedly seen instigating the students through his words regarding the Agnipath scheme and inciting them to stop trains and protest furiously.
An FIR was registered against him at Danapur police station. The government also banned 35 WhatsApp groups for spreading fake news about “Agnipath”
Notwithstanding protests in some parts of the country, the Union Government is going ahead with the implementation of the “Agnipath Scheme” and online registration is scheduled to begin from June 24 onwards
The army on Monday issued a notification stating that the registration process for recruitment of Agniveers into the armed forces will begin in July. The Defence Ministry made it clear that every entrant will be allowed to join only after 100 percent police verification that they were not part of the protest or vandalism.
The Indian Navy will come out with a broad guideline for recruitment by 25 June. The first batch of recruits will join the training program by 21 November.
In the first batch, 3,000 Agniveers will be inducted, of whom 20% would be women. In the Indian Air Force, the registration will start on June 24 and phase 1 of the online examination process would start on July 24, Training would commence by December 30.
In all, 83 recruitment rallies would be organized across the country by the Indian Army. The Army will begin the process from July 01 onwards and the first batch comprising 25,000 personnel will join the training program in the first and second week of December. The second lot of recruits will join their training around February 23.
Starting with the first batch of 46,000 Agniveers, the Government plans to reach up to an intake of 50,000-60,000 in the next 4-5 years. Subsequently, it could go up to one lakh.
Veterans extend support
Besides this, different divisional heads have been holding meetings with ex-servicemen and citizens to seek their opinion about Agnipath. One such meeting was held at Indian Air Force’s Maintenance Command in Nagpur on Monday. Air Marshal Vibhas Pande, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the IAF’s Maintenance Command, addressed the meeting and explained the recruitment scheme, and also answered questions. The gathering unanimously hailed the scheme as a transformational scheme that would certainly encourage them to join the forces.
Petition challenging Agnipath
In the public interest litigation (PIL) petition has been filed before the Supreme Court challenging the Constitutional validity of the Agnipath by Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma praying for quashing of the notification dated June 14, issued by the Ministry of Defence announcing the scheme.
The petitioner claims that the scheme has been “imposed” upon the country without the approval of the Parliament and gazette notification. The plea said that as per the Agniveer scheme, after 4 years, out of the selected candidates, only 25 percent will be continued in the Indian Army while the rest will be retired /denied jobs in the armed forces. The petition is expected to come up for hearing soon.