Chhattisgarh CM slams Agnipath; says Centre playing with nation's security, future of youths

Raipur, Jun 17 (PTI) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday questioned the BJP-led Union government's intention in rolling out the 'Agnipath' scheme for military recruitment and asked why it was playing with the security of the country and the future of the youth.


Demanding immediate withdrawal of the policy, the CM said youths, trained in weapons, could indulge in criminal activities when they become jobless after completion of their four-year tenure as part of the scheme.



Unveiling the scheme on Tuesday, the Centre had said youths between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted as 'Agniveers' in the armed forces for a four-year tenure while 25 percent of the recruits will be retained for regular service.


Later, the government decided to raise the upper age limit for recruitment under the scheme to 23 years from 21 for this year only.


Asked about the ongoing protests in several parts of the country against the scheme, Baghel told reporters, "Why is full time recruitment not being done in the armed forces? Are you (Centre) trying to say you don't have money for recruitment in the army, which protects our country? Youths join armed forces with a spirit to serve the nation. Why are you playing with their future and borders of the country?"


"On one hand you have been selling the country's assets and on the other you don't have money for army recruitment. You should issue a white paper on this situation," he added.



He also slammed BJP-ruled states that have announced that priority would be given to de-inducted 'Agniveers' in police recruitment and related services.


"The army and police are two significantly different professions. Police are for maintaining law and order while the army is for defence. An army man knows only two things, friend and foe. They fight and eliminate their enemies. Police are mainly tasked with maintaining law and order and cannot be associated with it," he said.


He said training in both professions were different and questioned why the Centre was trying to mislead people on the issue (by saying that the Agniveers will be preferred in police recruitment).



"Will it be possible to recruit all de-inducted Agniveers as police personnel after their tenure gets over? What will happen to those who will not get jobs? In which direction are you taking society? Your intention does not seem to be right," the Chhattisgarh CM said.


"They (Agniveers) would be trained in arms and if you leave them in the lurch in such a way then they can indulge in criminal activities by forming gangs," the CM claimed.