Other States

‘Agnipath recruits may join NE extremist groups after tenure’

Passengers wait after several trains got cancelled due to protests against the Centre’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme and flooding of tracks following heavy rainfall, at Guwahati Railway Station, June 17, 2022

Passengers wait after several trains got cancelled due to protests against the Centre’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme and flooding of tracks following heavy rainfall, at Guwahati Railway Station, June 17, 2022 | Photo Credit: PTI

GUWAHATI

A regional political party in Assam said the Centre’s Agnipath scheme could be ominous for the northeast, which has a history of extremist violence.

Agnipath, introduced on June 14, entails the recruitment of soldiers below the rank of commissioned officers into the three services of the armed forces for four years. Soldiers recruited under this scheme will be known as Agniveers.

“After four years of service, the armed forces will offer a pool of out-of-job, readymade fighters from the northeast for the extremist groups to recruit. The government claims to have brought down militancy to a great extent, but about 250 people joining the ULFA (Independent) in the last six months is alarming,” the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) said in a statement on Tuesday.

United Liberation Front of Asom, whose ‘Independent’ faction headed by Paresh Baruah has refused to talk truce unless the Centre discusses the issue of sovereignty of Assam.

The AJP said the Bharatiya Janata Party has weighed the service of the armed forces personnel with money by floating the Agnipath scheme.

“The design of the scheme makes it clear that it has been driven by a disturbing political ambition,” the regional party said, wondering if the Agniveers would end up as security guards for the offices and leaders of the BJP across the country.

The AJP said the Centre should have discussed the pros and cons of the scheme with all political parties and stakeholders before introducing Agnipath. It said the scheme should be put on hold and debated upon before implementation.

Unlike the rest of the country, protests against Agnipath in Assam and elsewhere in the northeast have been feeble. One of the reasons is that much of the region has been reeling under floods for over a month now.


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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 10:32:26 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/agnipath-recruits-may-join-ne-extremist-groups-after-tenure/article65549471.ece