Amid the massive protests in several states, the Indian Army on Monday issued a notification for induction of soldiers under the Agnipath military recruitment scheme. The Army said the online registration on the force’s recruitment website is mandatory for all the job aspirants under the new model. It said the online registration would commence in July.
The Army said ‘Agniveers’ would form a distinct rank in the Indian Army, which would be different from any other existing ranks. In a detailed note on the scheme, the Army last night said ‘Agniveers’ would be barred from disclosing classified information gained during the four-year service period to any unauthorised person or source under the Official Secrets Act 1923.
“With the introduction of this scheme, the enrolment of soldiers in the the regular cadre of the Indian Army, except technical cadres of medical branch, will be available only to those personnel who have completed their engagement period as Agniveer,” it said.
The Army said the release of an Agniveer at their own request prior to completion of terms of engagement is not permitted. “However, in most exceptional cases, personnel enrolled under this scheme may be released, if sanctioned by the competent authority,” it said.
The Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14, provides for the recruitment of youths between the age bracket of 17-and-half years to 21 for only four years, with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years. Later, the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022. Protests have erupted in several states against the Centre’s scheme. The personnel to be recruited under the new system will be known as ‘Agniveers’.
“Agniveers so enrolled as regular cadre would be required to serve for a further engagement period of 15 years and will be governed by terms and conditions of service (of Junior Commissioned Officer/ Other Ranks) currently in vogue,” it said. The Army said the Agniveers would not have any right to be selected after completion of their four-year tenure.
Meanwhile, over 80 trains have been cancelled, and massive traffic jams are being witnessed across Delhi-NCR on Monday as some organisations have called for a “Bharat Bandh” to mark their protest against the Agnipath recruitment scheme unveiled by the Central government last week. This comes a day after Tri-service chiefs ruled out the withdrawal of the scheme.
The commuters in the national capital experienced difficulties in commuting as heavy traffic jams were reported in various parts of the city, including at the Delhi-Gurugram Expressway, as Delhi Police installed barricades at various checkpoints in the wake of the Bharat Bandh against the Agnipath Scheme. Precautionary measures are being taken at various railway stations in many states as several stations were vandalised and many trains were set ablaze by agitators.
States including West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and others have increased security, considering the widespread violence that happened last week as thousands protested against the Centre’s decision. In Delhi’s neighbouring areas Faridabad and Noida, Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which prohibits the assembly of four or more persons, has been imposed.
Earlier today, passengers at Gorakhpur Railway Station were troubled after trains got cancelled amid the Bharat Bandh call. “We have been waiting for three to four hours. When we checked train status last night, it didn’t say cancellation, but on reaching there we found out about it,” they told media persons.
On the other hand, all the schools in Jharkhand remained closed today. “JAC exams for class 11 were scheduled for today. New dates will be announced for today’s exams,” Sister Mary Grace, Principal, Ursuline Convent School and Inter College, said. Schools in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur also remained shut today.
In Rajasthan’s Jaipur, prohibitory orders under section 144 have been imposed from 6 pm on Sunday till midnight of August 18 in the view of the possibility of disturbance to law and order due to the protests. Punjab Police’s ADGP Law and Order has directed the CPs and SSPs across the state to be on alert and asked them to monitor the activities of social media groups which are actively mobilising or spreading instigating information about the scheme.