Bihar: On February 23, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and Bihar Co-operative Minister Surendra Prasad Yadav made objectionable remarks against Agniveer recruits claiming that the ‘Agnipath scheme’ would turn Indian Army into a ‘Hijdon ki Fauj’.
The RJD Minister said, “Exactly 8.5 years from today, our Army would be seen as ‘Hijdon ki Fauj’ (army of eunuchs). This is because our serving jawans will have retired by then, and the training of the Agniveers will still be going on. Whoever came up with this idea (of recruiting jawans through the ‘Agnipath’ scheme) should be hanged.”
He continued, “Why has this idea been brought up when our Army is the strongest in the world? What kind of Army will be prepared in 4.5 years?” He further claimed, “When they (Agniveers) will be 25-26 years old, people will come with marriage proposals. What will they say? I am a retired soldier. Who will marry them?”
Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai demanded Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to “sack this anti-national minister” for his ‘objectionable’ remarks against Army jawans. He said, “Surendra Yadav’s statement, as a cabinet minister, is highly objectionable. Our Army is renowned for its bravery. It is regrettable and highly objectionable for a sitting minister to say that our Army will be turned into a force of eunuchs.”
He further claimed that “Surendra Yadav continues to be a minister even after making such a crass and objectionable remark is a direct insult to our Army and jawans by the Nitish Kumar Government. It only goes to show the anti-national character of the RJD and JDU.”
Rai added, “Nitish ji and Tejashwi ji should know that our Army has always been known for its bravery and sacrifice and the country will not tolerate any insult to our armed forces. I want to ask to Nitish-ji if he has any sense of nationalism or patriotism left in him. If yes, he should immediately sack this anti-national minister, who has denigrated the Army with his statement.” He further stated, “I also want to tell Tejashwi Yadav (RJD chief and Bihar deputy CM) that Surendra Yadav may be a big leader of his party, but he should be expelled for such an objectionable statement against the Army. And if he doesn’t, the RJD’s character will stand exposed before our countrymen as well as our jawans.”
Under the ‘Agnipath Scheme’ announced on June 14, 2022, the three defence services are recruiting youth between the age bracket of 17.5 years to 21 years for four years with a provision to retain 25 percent of the recruits for a further 15 years. For 2022, the upper age limit was extended to 23 years.
It is pertinent to note that Indian Army recruited 40,000 Agniveer through the scheme in 2022, of which 10,000 Agniveers will be given permanent commissions after 4 years. Indian Army will recruit 40,000 Agniveers through the scheme again this year.