Agnipath Protests: 19-Yr-Old Dies by Suicide; Was Upset Over Scheme, Says Family

Vikas was preparing for a competitive exam and was distressed ever since the Centre unveiled the Agnipath scheme.

3 min read
Hindi Female
Edited By :Tejas Harad

A 19-year-old youth died by suicide on Tuesday, 21 June, in Rajasthan's Jhunjhunu, with his family claiming that he was upset over the Union defence ministry's widely-contested Agnipath scheme.

The Centre had last Tuesday unveiled the Agnipath scheme under which youths between 17.5 and 21 years will be inducted in the three services for a four-year tenure. Twenty-five percent of the recruits will be retained for regular service.

The man, identified as Ankit, was preparing for a competitive exam and was distressed ever since the government announced the scheme, his father Lekharaj said in his complaint. He killed himself at his rented accommodation in Chidwawa.
“We have sealed the room where Ankit was living. So far, no suicide note has been recovered. We have also come to know that he had some dispute with his sister living in Chidawa. The matter is being investigated,” SHO Inderprakash Yadav said.

He added that the body was handed over to family members after conducting a post-mortem.

Contentions Against the Scheme

Pan-India violent protests against the scheme had erupted on 16 June, with gatherings in various parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Delhi's Nangloi, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh.

The Agnipath scheme is being criticised for its employment of the youth for a short-term period, which will leave young soldiers in the lurch after their contractual stint in the armed forces comes to an end.

However, Lt General Anil Puri, additional secretary of the department of military affairs, announced on Sunday that there would be no rollback of the Agnipath scheme after which the Army, on Monday, issued a notification for induction of soldiers to the scheme.

Meanwhile, chiefs of the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force, on Tuesday, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence, to brief him about the scheme as well as their plans for its implementation.

Earlier, as per Delhi Police, around 10-12 persons, carrying long sticks with some inflammable material, reached in front of the residence of BJP president JP Nadda to protest against the scheme.

The new scheme was projected by the government as a major overhaul of the decades-old selection process to enhance the youthful profile of the three services.

The announcement of the new scheme came in the backdrop of recruitments into the military remaining stalled for over two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

What Have Ministers and Leaders Said?

The Union Defence and Home Ministers promised 10% reservations for 'Agniveers' in CAPFs, Assam Rifles and Defence ministries, right after concessions were made relaxing the upper-age limit from 21 to 23 on Thursday.

However, Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya stirred controversy on Sunday, 19 June, by saying that he would prioritise hiring Agniveer soldiers as security personnel for the party office.

Addressing a press conference, the leader said, "Under the Agnipath scheme, the youth would develop qualities like discipline and obedience, which would benefit them in their lives even after the completion of the service period."

Besides this, Haryana Chief Minister, Karnataka Home Minister and Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri have 'guaranteed' jobs to Agnipath recruits post their term.


The Scheme at a Glance

The scheme allows for the induction of about 45,000 people aged 17.5 to 21 years into the military for a four-year period. Recruitment for the same is supposed to begin in the next 90 days, with the first wave expected to arrive in July 2023.

Furthermore, there will be a six-month training period during which they would be paid a monthly wage of Rs 30,000-40,000 as allowances. Candidates will be able to obtain insurance and medical benefits as well.

Only 25 percent of these troops will be retained after four years, and they will serve for a total of 15 years in non-officer ranks.

The remaining employees will receive a package worth between Rs 11 lakh and Rs 12 lakh when they leave the service, but they will not be eligible for pension benefits.

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Topics:  Suicide   Rajasthan   Agnipath Protests 

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