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Agnipath, which the NDA administration has labelled a "revolutionary" initiative, has sparked outrage from a variety of quarters. While the new military recruitment programme has been widely criticised by the opposition, violent protests are taking place around the country to demand its repeal.

Meanwhile, the Narendra Modi government has promised a slew of fresh concessions in an attempt to appease demonstrators enraged by the new Agniveer military recruitment scheme, which has sparked widespread unrest across the country. The following are some of the most important developments.

Agnipath Row Live | Govt bans 35 WhatsApp groups for 'spreading fake news'

The government on 19 June banned as many as 35 WhatsApp groups that were allegedly spreading fake news about the Agnipath military recruitment scheme. The following move was taken amid the rising violence in the country against the scheme.

Agnipath Row Live | Didn't anticipate recent violence over this scheme: Lt General Anil Puri

Briefing the media, Dept of Military Affairs' Additional Secretary Lt General Anil Puri said, that they did not anticipate recent violence over Agnipath scheme.

He said, "We had not anticipated the recent violence over this scheme. There is no place for indiscipline in the Armed Forces. All candidates will have to give a written pledge that they did not indulge in any arson/violence"

Adding more he said, "Indian Army's foundation in discipline. No space for arson, vandalism. Every individual will give a certificate that they were not part of protest or vandalism. Police verification is 100%, no one can join without that."

"And if any FIR lodged against them, they can't join...They (aspirants) will be asked to write as part of the enrollment form that they were not part of the arson, their police verification will be done," he added.

 

Agnipath Row Live | First naval 'Agniveers' will start reaching INS Chilka from 21 Nov: Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi

Briefing the media, Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi said, "From November 21 this year, the first naval 'Agniveers' will start reaching the training establishment INS Chilka, Odisha. Both female and male Agniveers are allowed for this."

Adding more, he said, “Indian Navy has 30 women officers at present sailing on different Indian Navy ships. We have decided that under Agnipath scheme, we will recruit women also. They will be deployed on warships also."

Agnipath Row Live | IAF first batch registration process to begin from June 24: Air Marshal SK Jha

Briefing the media, Air Marshal SK Jha said, "Agniveer batch number 1 registration process to start from June 24 and from July 24, phase 1 online examination process would start. The first batch would be enrolled by December and training would commence by December 30."

Agnipath Row Live | Intake of soldiers will go up to 1.25 lakh in 4-5 years: Lt Gen Arun Puri

Department of Military Affairs' Department of Military Affairs Additional Secretary Lt General Arun Puri said, "In the next 4-5 years, our intake (of soldiers) will be 50,000-60,000 and will further increase to 90,000-1 lakh subsequently. We've started small at 46,000 to analyse the scheme... and to build up our infrastructural capacity."

On the compensation issue, he said that the 'Agniveers' would get the same allowance in areas like Siachen and other areas which are applicable to the regular soldiers serving at present. No discrimination against them in service conditions.

While on the issue of announcement, he said, "The announcements regarding the reservations for 'Agniveers' announced by the different ministries and departments was pre-planned and not in reaction to the arson that happened after Agnipath scheme announcement.

Agnipath Row Live | 'Agniveers' will get 1 cr compensation post martydom: Lt Gen Anil Puri

Breifing the media on 19 June, Department of Military Affairs' Department of Military Affairs Additional Secretary said, "Agniveers' will get a compensation for 1 crore if he sacrifices his life in service of the nation."

Agnipath Row Live | 'Reform was long pending, says Lt Gen Anil Puri

Breifing the media on 19 June, Department of Military Affairs' Department of Military Affairs Additional Secretary said, "This reform was long pending. We want to bring youthfulness and experience with this reform. Today, a large number of jawan are in their thirty's officers are getting command much later than in the past."

Adding more, he said that around 17,600 people are taking premature retirement from the three Services every year, but non one ever tried to ask them what they will do after retirement.

Live Now: MoD briefs the media on Agnipath recruitment scheme

Agnipath will kill the youth of India

"This scheme will kill the youth of the country, will finish Army... Please see the intent of this govt and topple it. Bring a govt that is true to the nation, protects country's assets. I urge you to do peaceful protest but don't stop, "Congress's Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said on the Agnipath scheme

Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, K.C. Venugopal and others sit on 'Satyagraha' against the Central government's 'Agnipath' scheme, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Sunday, June 19, 2022. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)
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Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, K.C. Venugopal and others sit on 'Satyagraha' against the Central government's 'Agnipath' scheme, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Sunday, June 19, 2022. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist) (PTI)

Congress holds 'Satyagraha' at Delhi's Jantar Mantar

In sympathy with the youths protesting the Centre's recently announced Agnipath scheme for armed services recruitment, Congress MPs and leaders sat on a 'Satyagraha' at Jantar Mantar. The BJP-led central government has been chastised by Congress leaders and supporters, who claim that the Agnipath initiative is not useful to the country's youth and also jeopardises national security.

Security at Jantar Mantar ramped up ahead of Congress protest

At Jantar Mantar, police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) soldiers have been deployed ahead of the Congress party's 'Satyagraha' demonstration against the Centre's Agnipath scheme for recruitment into the Indian Armed Forces. On June 19, the grand old party is expected to stage a 'Satyagraha' at Jantar Mantar in support of the young protesting the Central Government's Agnipath Recruitment Scheme. The demonstration will be attended by all MPs, CWC members, and AICC office bearers.

It’s 'Agnipath' of unemployment: Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi unleashed a stinging attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 19, saying that, by continually promising jobs, PM Modi had pushed the youth to travel the 'Agnipath' of unemployment. PM Modi also claimed that 16 crore employment would be distributed in eight years, Gandhi said, but that the kids would only be taught how to "frying pakoras".

Young people are hurt: Sachin Pilot

To avoid a repeat of the farm laws episode, Congress leader Sachin Pilot advised the government not to be "stubborn" and to remove the new military recruiting scheme Agnipath forthwith for wider deliberations. He also said that the country had been maintained "on a constant boil" in recent years, with a "severe backlash" from the youth as a result of causes such as rejection of the Agnipath scheme, unemployment, and economic and rural suffering.

Amid Agnipath protests, Rajnath Singh to hold another meeting today

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will convene a meeting at his residence on June 19 as protests against the Centre's Agnipath plan continue in various regions of the country. According to ANI sources, the tri-service chiefs are likely to attend the conference and discuss the scheme's implementation as well as strategies to appease agitators. Rajnath Singh has convened a meeting for the second time in two days.

The Indian Army's Adjutant General Lieutenant General Bansi Ponappa, the Navy's Chief of Personnel Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi and the Air Force's Personnel in-charge Air Marshal Suraj Jha will be present at the press conference on the Agnipath scheme later today.

BJP, JD(U) clash in Bihar: Allies get engaged in war of words

The protests against the Centre's Agnipath scheme sparked a new war of words between the two ruling allies, the BJP and the JD(U), with the former accusing the Nitish Kumar government of its "inability to stop attacks" on saffron party leaders' homes. Sanjay Jaiswal, the Bihar BJP chairman, blamed the Nitish Kumar-led coalition government for what he called "targeted attacks" on BJP leaders in the state.

Indian Air Force releases Agnipath scheme details

Agnipath recruitment scheme details have been released by the Indian Air Force.

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8 trains cancelled, 6 rescheduled in East Central Railway

Due to ongoing students' agitation, eight trains cancelled, six trains have been rescheduled in the zone, said East Central Railway.

Ludhiana railway station vandalised

Agitators vandalised Punjab's Ludhiana railway station in protest of the Centre's new Agnipath armed forces recruiting scheme. The police claimed they have CCTV footage and are working to identify the criminals who stormed the railway station.

"Police immediately took action. Around 8-10 persons have been rounded up. Some people have called them and misused them. We have videos available and are identifying them," said RS Brar, Joint Commissioner of Police (CP) of Ludhiana.

PM Modi always thinks about the youth: Himachal CM

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has requested everyone to maintain peace. “I request to the youth that where the whole country has congratulated this decision and job opportunities on a large scale will be available through this medium. I urge everyone to maintain peace. PM Modi always thinks and does good about the youth," he said.

“I welcome the decision of PM Modi regarding the Agnipath scheme. I feel the way the opposition is trying to take this issue in a different direction, is not appropriate. It will be an opportunity for the youth across the nation," he added.

‘Youth anguished’, Rahul Gandhi says no to birthday celebrations

Rahul Gandhi, the former Congress president, has asked party officials and members not to celebrate his birthday on June 19. In a message to them, he claimed that the country's youth are distraught and protesting in the streets, and that Congress workers should join them. "The youth are anguished. We should stand with them and their families at this time," the former Congress chief remarked, referring to protests across the country against the Agnipath military recruitment scheme.

9 coaching institute operators arrested in UP's Aligarh

Officials in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, stated that police had arrested over 80 individuals in connection with the district's violent protests against the Centre's Agnipath scheme. According to Aligarh Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani, 35 persons have been arrested for their role in the violence since the protests on Friday, including nine operators of coaching institutes.

NSUI member among 4 held in UP

On June 18, the Uttar Pradesh Police detained four fake army recruits, including the district head of the National Students' Union of India (NSUI), for allegedly attempting to incite Army recruits to protest the Centre's Agnipath scheme. According to Saharanpur Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Akash Tomar, one of the accused apprehended is Parag Panwar, the NSUI district president.

Agniveers to be considered as physical education teachers: Anurag Thakur

In the midst of nationwide demonstrations over the Agnipath scheme, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur announced that Agniveers would be considered for appointment as physical education teachers in schools once they resign from service. 'Agniveers' who wish to become physical education instructors would receive special training, he said.

Govt announces benefits for Agniveers

The Home Ministry has set aside 10% of vacancies in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles for Agniveers. The Defence Ministry will set aside 10% of posts in the coast guard and state-run defence businesses for Agniveers.

The Agnipath scheme's age limit has been lifted from 21 to 23. There will be an age limit relaxation of three years for Agniveers in the CAPFs and Assam Rifles. Several state administrations claimed to give Agniveers preference in police recruitment. The National Institute of Open Schooling will offer specialised courses to 10th-grade Agniveers in order to assist them in obtaining a 12th-grade credential. Agniveers from the Indian Navy will have employment prospects in the merchant navy and six service routes for induction by the Shipping Ministry.

(With agency inputs)

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