India

RLD holds silent protest against Agnipath, plans ‘youth panchayats’

RLD president Chaudhary Jayant Singh. File photo

RLD president Chaudhary Jayant Singh. File photo

Responding to the violent protests in western Uttar Pradesh on Friday against the Agnipath scheme, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) suspended its plan to protest at the district headquarters on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Instead, party president Chaudhary Jayant Singh and party MLAs visited Kisan Ghat and undertook a silent protest against the short-term recruitment scheme in the armed forces. Mr. Singh demanded the government roll back the scheme and appealed to protesters to use peaceful means to express their anguish.

Meanwhile, describing the Agnipath scheme as a “well-disguised fraud in the name of employment”, the Bharatiya Kisan Union’s (BKU) national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said the organisation will launch an agitation against the scheme on June 30 by holding a sit-in protest at district headquarters in Uttar Pradesh.

Recently, Mr. Singh had written to the Ministry of Defence demanding the cut-off age for recruitment be extended by two years because of the pandemic. Mr. Singh said the Ministry had responded that it would be against the established procedure of recruitment and would not be fair with the current batch of aspirants.

“Now that the government has agreed to increase the cut-off age by two years in the Agnipath scheme, the Ministry should answer why it could not have been done in the regular recruitment process,” he said, adding that such flip-flops put the government’s intention under a cloud.

Party spokesperson Sandeep Chaudhary said Mr. Singh would go ahead with the RLD’s plan to hold “youth panchayats” across western Uttar Pradesh from June 28 to July 16 against the scheme.

“The scheme is being discussed at every crossing and neighbourhood of western U.P., and rural youth and their parents are anguished. Agnipath is being seen as a euphemism for contract jobs in the armed forces. The government seeks to misuse the youth’s desperation for jobs. However, we don’t want them to damage public property. We are in the process of channelising their pain through meaningful dialogue,” said Mr. Chaudhary.


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2022 9:10:27 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rld-holds-silent-protest-against-agnipath-plans-youth-panchayats/article65540701.ece