Leading the Congress protest at Jantar Mantar here against the central government’s new scheme of recruitment in defence forces, ‘Agnipath’, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday urged the youth to recognize “fake patriots” and protest peacefully against the ‘Agnipath’ scheme.
Several Congress leaders also joined the protest.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “No one is a greater patriot than the youth. I talked to many youths when I was arrested in Uttar Pradesh. I saw youths who were preparing, waiting for recruitment in the army. Found many who said there is no hope left and are now going to sell sugarcane.”
Appealing to the youth, she said, “Throw out the government in a democratic, peaceful and non-violent way. Bring a government that is true to the nation and protects the country’s assets.”
Several top leaders of the Congress participated in what the party called ‘Satyagraha’ and demanded the government to withdraw the Agnipath scheme. The Congress leaders said the government should immediately withdraw this scheme as it is not good for the youth.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “You dream to get into the army, you dream to die on the border, no one is a greater patriot than you, just recognize the fake patriots. See the intention of the government, whatever protest you do, do it peacefully, but do not stop, do not get tired, every soldier of the Congress is with you.”
“Understand the situation. Why did farmers have to agitate? Because they understood that their hard earned money was going to someone else,” she said.
She further said, “This government is not for you, but for big corporates, it is all a thought out plan — to stay in power. Several industries were closed which could have given you employment. And now your dream to get into the army has also been crushed.”
The grand old party held a ‘Satyagraha’ at Jantar Mantar in solidarity with them youth protesting against Central Government’s Agnipath Recruitment Scheme. All MPs, CWC members, and AICC office bearers participated in the protest.
Heavy deployment of security forces was seen at the protest site.
Youths across the country have been protesting against the Agnipath scheme and incidents of violence have been reported from many cities and towns.
In some places, the protests turned violent as trains were set ablaze.
Earlier on Saturday, one person died in Telangana’s Secunderabad on Friday as protests against the newly announced military recruitment policy, Agnipath, turned violent.
Earlier, protesters torched compartments of a train in Bihar’s Samastipur and those in another train at Lakhisarai station.
As many as 340 train services were affected on Friday due to youth’s agitation against the recently launched Agnipath recruitment scheme.
Notably, Agnipath Scheme was launched by the government, on June 14, in an effort to bring a change in the recruitment process of the Armed Forces. With the new military recruitment scheme facing a backlash by Opposition, the Centre has decided to bring a change in the upper age limit for recruiting Agniveers.
Granting a one-time waiver, the Centre on June 16, announced that the Agniveer upper age limit for recruitments via Agnipath Scheme has been extended to 23 years from 21 years.
The scheme is called Agnipath and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers. Agnipath allows patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years.