Army not a shop or company, jobs voluntary: Union minister VK Singh to Agnipath protesters
Protests against the Agnipath scheme, which was launched on June 14, had turned violent in several parts of the country over the past few days.
Union minister and former army chief General VK Singh (retired) on Sunday hit out at defence aspirants who are protesting against the Centre's Agnipath scheme, stating that the military recruitment drive is a voluntary one and burning trains and buses would not help anybody’s cause.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Singh said, “Who is telling you (protesters) to come? You are burning buses and trains, has anyone told you that you will be taken in the army?”
He said that if one comes after serving in the army for four years then he/she is capable and doesn't need any support. “Army is not a mode of employment. It's not a shop or company. Whoever goes into the Army, do so voluntarily,” Singh further told the news agency.
The former army chief's comments come after top military officers held a press conference earlier in the day over the Agnipath scheme where they talked about the salary that will be given to Agniveers, the recruitment process in the Army, Navy and the Air Force and other such rules.
During the press conference, Lieutenant General Anil Puri, additional secretary of the department of military affairs, said that aspirants who took part in anti-Agnipath protests will not be eligible to join the forces.
"There is no place for indiscipline in the armed forces. All candidates will have to give a written pledge that they did not indulge in any arson or violence... if any FIR is lodged against them, they can't join... police verification will be done," Lieutenant General Puri said.
Protests against the Agnipath scheme, which was launched on June 14, had turned violent in several parts of the country over the past few days. A protesting youth, Damodar Rakesh, was killed in alleged police firing at the Secunderabad Railway Station in Telangana on Friday, the first-ever death of the stir.
The agitators and opposition parties have demanded a complete rollback of the scheme but top military officers said on Sunday that will not happen. Some Union ministries and BJP-ruled states, have announced employment opportunities for Agniveers once their four years of service is complete.
The BJP is also facing fresh condemnation over the remarks made by its national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya that Agniveers will be given priority to be hired as security guards at the saffron party's offices.
Vijayvargiya later issued a clarification that his remarks were distorted.