Agnipath scheme a scam, says Kanhaiya; appeals to aspirants to shun violence

The Congress leader said the scheme is just a ploy by the Centre to reduce the strength of the armed forces, as the annual recruitment count has gone down to 50,000 from 75,000 earlier and no exams have been held for the past two years

Kanhaiya Kumar
Pointing to the massive protests and violent incidents in Bihar, he said the unemployment rate in the state is twice that of the national figure and the agitation is reflective of the frustration of youth who have been denied their dream. | File Photo: PTI

As the country roils over the protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme for the armed forces, Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar has called the scheme a “scam” and one which seeks to snatch the dreams of thousands of aspirants.

“The scheme is a scam. Through it, the youth of the country are being cast into the fire,” he said in an interaction with NDTV.

Kanhaiya, a resident of Bihar, which has witnessed a spate of violence incidents including arson, vandalism and bloodshed over the past four days, has appealed to youth to keep the peace and use violence as a means of protest.

Also read: A look at Agnipath-like schemes adopted by other nations

Kanhaiya wondered why the government which is using “damage control” now didn’t anticipate an uproar that the scheme would trigger from the youth and plan ahead of time.

He said the Centre’s real agenda is to reduce the strength of the armed forces, as it has slashed down the annual recruitments from 75,000 earlier to 50,000 and has put it on hold for two years, to the anguish of aspirants.

“There has been no recruitment for the past two years. What is the excuse? Corona? How is it possible that elections were conducted, speeches were made, rallies were taken out and the prime minister’s meetings were held, but recruitments couldn’t be made during the pandemic?” he said.

He said the government’s recent announcement of sops for retirees is just an eyewash as there is nothing new in it.

“They argue that those who retire will be given a handsome amount and reservation in different departments. The first thing is when armed forces retire, they already have reservations in other departments. Secondly, students join NCC from school-level itself. There are special military schools where aspirants are trained for army. So, the things that are being said now is sheer damage control,” he said.

Also read: Agnipath: Altering well-oiled system can have serious repercussions

Pointing to the massive protests and violent incidents in Bihar, he said the unemployment rate in the state is twice that of the national figure and the agitation is reflective of the frustration of youth who have been denied their dream.

“The reality is students don’t have an option. Otherwise, you tell me, did you see people resorting to violence when lemons were being sold at ₹250 a kilo, when oxygen cylinders weren’t available, when the same people walked thousands of miles to Bihar during COVID? Many of them walked on railway tracks. Did they burn trains then? Did you see violence at petrol stations when the fuel price was hiked? The youths have been pushed to protests as their dreams have been shattered by the government (sic),” he said.

Also read: Agnipath scheme decoded: How to join, salary, benefits — and criticism

Rubbishing allegations that the opposition was inciting the violence, Kanhaiya said it is Modi whom the people have voted to power and there is no reason why they would listen to the opposition and resort to violence.

 

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