It has emerged on social media that the documents required to fill the application includes a caste certificate and a religion certificate. It also states that a religion certificate is only required if religion as "SIKH/ HINDU/ MUSLIM/ CHRISTIAN" is not mentioned in caste certificate.
However, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, dismissing the allegation, told reporters in Parliament complex, "I want to make it clear this is a rumour. The (recruitment) system which was in place before Independence is being continued and there is no change to this."
Subsequently, army officials told news agency ANI that the need for a caste, and in some cases, religion certificate was always a part of the defence recruitment process.
Leaders Question Need for Caste, Religion Certificates
Tejashwi Yadav, in a tweet, said, "The Sangh's BJP government runs away from the caste census but asks caste from Agniveer brothers who give their lives for the service of the country."
"These castes are being asked because the country's largest casteist organisation, the RSS, will later group the Agniveers on the basis of their castes," Yadav added.
JD(U) leader Upendra Kushwaha also questioned the need for caste certificate in a tweet on Monday.
Questioning Defence Minister Singh, he said, "What is the need for a caste certificate in recruitment of Agniveers, when there is no provision for reservation? The officials of the concerned department should give an explanation."
AAP's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh tweeted that for the first time in the history of India, candidates have been asked to mention their caste in the army recruitment, and hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him if he does not consider Dalits, backward castes and tribals eligible for serving Army.
"The cheap face of Modi government has come out in front of the country," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
"Does Modi ji not consider dalits/backward/tribals eligible for army recruitment? For the first time in the history of India, caste is being asked in Army recruitment". Modi ji you have to make 'Agniveer' or 'Jaativeer'," he charged.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)