Samyukta Kisan Morcha to stage nationwide protests on June 24

The Agnipath scheme for short-term recruitment in armed forces is “not in favour of the youth” and should be rolled back, a leader of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) said on Wednesday. The SKM had spearheaded an agitation against the Centre’s now-scrapped agri laws. Farmer leader and a member of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha Abhimanyu Kohar said the organisation in a meeting earlier this week had decided to stage nationwide protests on June 24 to oppose the scheme.

The Agnipath scheme is not in favour of the youth and should be rolled back, he said.

“After the protests, open memorandum addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind will be submitted at the district headquarters across the country on June 24. In the memorandum, we will appeal to the President to roll back the Agnipath scheme,” Kohar said. He also said that the SKM supports the youth protesting against the Agnipath scheme and appeals to them to protest peacefully.

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Several parts of the country witnessed violent protests after the announcement of the new model that seeks to recruit 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. For 2022, the upper age limit has been extended to 23 years. The three military services on Tuesday had said the Agnipath scheme will not entail any change in the existing system of recruitment of soldiers and will not at all impact their combat capabilities and operational readiness.

At a media briefing, additional secretary in the defence ministry’s department of military affairs Lt Gen Anil Puri addressed various issues raised about the new scheme, asserting it has not been brought to “right-size” the armed forces but to lower their age-profile and enhance their overall capability. 

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