The Central government has said that the outfit is continuing to be involved in fomenting terrorism and anti-India propaganda for fueling secessionism in Jammu and Kashmir, which is prejudicial to the sovereignty, security and integrity of India.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Saturday said his government will register a strong protest with the Centre over the denial of guard of honour to Agniveer Amritpal Singh who died in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Whatever may be the policy of the army regarding the martyrdom of Shaheed Amritpal Singh, but the policy of the Punjab government will remain the same as for every martyr.. Shaheed Amritpal Singh is a martyr of the country… Strong objection will also be raised with the Central Govt..,” he said on X.
The remarks come after the army said Singh (19) died while on sentry duty in Rajouri sector due to a self-inflicted gunshot injury.
“A Court of Inquiry to ascertain more details is in progress. Mortal remains of the deceased were transported in a civil ambulance hired by the unit of the Agniveer. Accompanying army personnel also attended the last rites. The cause of death was a self-inflicted injury. No guard of honour or military funeral was provided in accordance with the existing policy. Indian Army offers its deepest condolences to the bereaved family,” the army said.
Meanwhile, opposition parties slammed the Centre and the Agnipath scheme.
Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said, “This is a sad day for our country as who was recruited under the Agniveer scheme was sent back home in a private ambulance and not given any guard of honour by the Indian Army. Does being an Agniveer mean that their lives do not matter as much?”.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) also condemned the Centre with Bikram Singh Majithia demanded immediate scrapping of the Agnipath scheme and regularisation of services of all soldiers recruited under the scheme till date.
Leader of Opposition, Partap Singh Bajwa alleged the Agnipath scheme is the most pathetic one to recruit army personnel.
Amritpal Singh was cremated at his native village Kotli Kalan in Mansa district on Friday. He was recently deployed on the border after a six-month training. He was the only son of his parents and had joined the army in December 2022.
Agnipath scheme was launched last year to recruit soldiers below the rank of commissioned officers into the three services of the armed forces.