Centre Files Caveat in Supreme Court Over Agnipath Scheme PILs

 - Sakshi Post

Hyderabad: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday found fault with the comments made by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on the Agnipath scheme. He demanded that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi should listen to the youth of the country and cancel the Agnipath scheme for short-term contractual recruitment into the armed forces. 

Owaisi, Hyderabad Lok Sabha MP, tweeted that “After the military officers, NSA has been pulled out to defend the indefensible scheme of short-term contractual recruitment of soldiers. '56-inch' does not have the courage to own up to his decisions and is hiding behind others.”

In an interview with a Delhi-based national news agency, NSA Doval said there is no question about the rollback of the Agnipath scheme and violence will not be tolerated in the country. 

Responding to Doval’s comment, Owaisi said, “What does NSA mean by not tolerate? Chinese forces continue to be in control of our territory in Ladakh; those then ingress into 202 and we are unable to reverse that. Hundreds of square kilometres of the area are now not being patrolled by our soldiers for over 25 months. 

Ajit Doval told ANI, “The whole war is undergoing a great change. We are going towards contactless wars, and also going towards war against the invisible enemy. Technology is taking over at a rapid pace. If we have to prepare for tomorrow, then we have to change.”

Countering Doval’s statement, the MIM leader said how does having poorly trained soldiers for a short period on contract help the army to be better prepared for modern wars? “The idea should be that modern technology needs better soldiers and not do the reverse,” Owaisi said.

On the issue of army regiments, NSA Ajit Doval said that the Agnipath scheme wouldn’t change the concept of regiments, “They (regiments) will continue...The regimental system has not ended,” he said. 

MIM chief Owaisi said that the Agnipath scheme would do away with traditional army structures. “You may still call it the Gorkha Regiment, but if it has one Tamilian, one Kashmiri and one Haryanavi, will it remain the Gorkha Regiment? The NSA should acknowledge that this contractual recruitment scheme does away with our traditional army structures,” Owaisi added. 

It may be recalled here that the BJP-led Central government on June 14 had announced the Agnipath scheme, which is a new short-term recruitment for Indian youth to serve in the armed forces.’ The scheme will allow youth aged 17.5 to 21 (now 23) to be inducted into any of the three services of the Army as “Agniveers” for a period of four years.

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The Centre filed a caveat in the Supreme Court on Tuesday and urged that it be heard before the court passes any order on petitions against the army recruitment scheme. 

Series of protests erupted in several states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal against the scheme over the past several days. As these protests turned violent, police in the respective states have arrested several demonstrators and filed FIRs for indulging in violence and vandalism against the Agnipath scheme. 

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