New Delhi, June 19: As former Congress president Rahul Gandhi turned 52 on Sunday, he urged party workers to refrain from any kind of celebrations, saying that crores of youths are anguished over the Centre's Agnipath scheme.
Notably, protests against the new recruitment scheme have intensified in several states in the past few days
"We are concerned with the situation in the country. Crores of youths are anguished. We should share the pain of the youth and their families and stand with them," Rahul Gandhi said in a statement on Saturday.
The Wayanad MP's statement came amid nationwide protests against the Centre's Agnipath scheme, which was approved on June 14 and advocates for the recruitment of Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces for a four-year period.
On Saturday, Rahul Gandhi stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have to accept the youth's demand and cancel the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme, just like he did with the farm laws.
The former Congress president further said that the BJP government has "insulted" the values of "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" for the past eight years.
"I had said earlier also that the prime minister will have to withdraw the black farm laws. In the same manner, he will have to accept the demand of the youth of the country by becoming 'maafiveer' and take back the 'Agnipath' scheme," Gandhi said on Twitter.
On June 14, the Union Cabinet announced Agnipath, a recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the three Armed Forces services. Those who are recruited under this scheme would be known as Agniveers.
Agnipath is a scheme that permits patriotic and motivated young people to serve in the Armed Forces for four years. The Agnipath Scheme was created to give the Armed Forces a more youthful appearance.
According to the Ministry's latest announcement, the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), including the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), National Security Guard (NSG), and Special Protection Group (SPG), will have a maximum age limit of 26 years.
Meanwhile, the first batch of Agniveers will be granted a 5-year extension beyond the top age limit of 23, bringing their total age to 28.