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‘They are not fit for the Army’: General VK Singh on violence by youths against the Agnipath scheme

Ever since the Agnipath scheme was announced by the Central Government, it has landed in controversy over the recruitment of Jawans into the forces. Aspiring candidates in Bihar and other surrounding states in North India took to violent protests and agitations against the recruitment scheme on Thursday, disrupting the law and order in the region. The protests were particular violent in Bihar, where several trains were burnt by the violent mob. Reacting to the violence by so called aspiring candidates for the defence forces, Union Minister and former Indian Army chief Gen. V K Singh (R) has stated that such behaviour showcased by the youths is not fit for the army.

Central Minister Gen. V K Singh, who retired as the Chief of Army staff before joining active politics, has condemned the violent protests that spread across cities in Bihar over the recruitment issue regarding Agnipath.

In an interview with India Today Editor Rahul Kanwal, Singh commented, “I don’t think anybody who is shouting like this, is even fit for the Army. If I was at the helm of affairs, I won’t take any one of them,” categorically calling out the way so called army aspirants in Bihar protested. The Minister of State for Civil Aviation said that if anybody wants to come to the Army and has the feeling for the Army, ‘they would not be protesting’.

Hinting at a possible political conspiracy behind the violent demonstrations, Singh added, “If they are protesting, there must be something else which is telling them to protest or guiding them to protest.” VK Singh highlighted that while the chief Ministers of UP and Haryana have extended support to the scheme stating that the ‘Agniveers’ will be given priority in state police recruitments after they complete their 4-year term in the defence forces, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and the state of Bihar should do the same, to tame the confusion.

Singh underlined that the scheme is being misrepresented while there is no cause for the protests at a time when it is not even gone on the floors.

Earlier in the day, a rioting situation occurred in Bihar’s Jehanabad where young men claiming to protest against the Central Government’s Agnipath scheme indulged in vandalism and arson. In an incident, the mob ran so violently that it set a parked train on fire in Bihar’s Chhapra. Besides this, law and order situation has been seriously affected in the districts of Bulandshahar, Chhapra, Arrah, Buxar and Saharsa where students were flocking to the railway stations with sticks and stones with an intent to disrupt the railway traffic.

The Agnipath scheme

On June 14, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, along with the chiefs of three armed forces, launched the Agnipath scheme for the recruitment of youth in the armed forces. The ‘Agniveers’ will be provided with a regular salary for the duration of 4 years and a lumpsum amount of Rs 11.71 lakhs as a Seva Nidhi package.

While the scheme only acts as an additional option for those willing to join the Armed Forces, and in no way, does it hamper the traditional mainstream recruitment process, it seems the young men running riots in Bihar are either ignorant about the scheme or have been motivated by some political forces to indulge in violent protests.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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