Congress leaders meet President Kovind to discuss Agnipath scheme, police atrocities

New Delhi [India], June 20 (ANI): As protests against the Centre's newly-launched Agnipath military recruitment scheme intensified, Congress leaders on Monday met President Ram Nath Kovind to discuss the Agnipath scheme and police atrocities against MPs.

Earlier in the day, Congress functionaries were seen marching towards the Rashtrapati Bhawan from Vijay Chowk in protest against the Agnipath scheme. Speaking to ANI, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the president was informed that the Agnipath scheme was neither discussed with any committee nor was presented in Parliament which is a violation of democratic rights.

"On Agnipath scheme, we've told the President that it was neither discussed with any committee nor was presented in Parliament. We said that this is a violation of our democratic rights. President has been asked to take this into consideration," Kharge said.

Senior leader P Chidambaram said a second memorandum submitted to Kovind was about the police atrocities on Congress leaders.

"We have asked the President to order an enquiry into this and send the matter to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee," Chidambaram said.

"We will present our case and let the Delhi Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) present their case. Let the committee decide whether there has been a breach or not. The President has assured us that he will look into it and take it up with the government," he added.

Earlier in the day, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) cadres protested near Sasthri Bhavan in Chennai's Nungambakkam.

DYFI cadres raised slogans against the Central government and demanded the rollback of the Agnipath Scheme.

Over 80 trains have been canceled and massive traffic jams are being witnessed across Delhi-NCR on Monday as some organizations have called for a "Bharat Bandh" to mark their protest against the Agnipath recruitment scheme unveiled by the Central government last week. This comes a day after Tri-service chiefs ruled out the withdrawal of the scheme.

The commuters in the national capital experienced difficulties in commuting as heavy traffic jams were reported in various parts of the city including at the Delhi-Gurugram expressway as Delhi Police installed barricades at various checkpoints in wake of the Bharat Bandh against the Agnipath Scheme.

The Union Cabinet on June 14 approved a recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the three services of the Armed Forces called Agnipath and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers.

After the policy, which allows Indian youths to serve in the regular cadre of the Armed Forces for a period of four years, was announced on June 14, protests erupted in various states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand and Assam.

As the agitation intensified in some places, protestors went on the rampage setting trains on fire, torching vehicles and damaging both private and public properties.

Protests have disrupted rail services in several parts of the country. A total of 491 train services have been affected throughout the country due to the ongoing agitation, informed railway officials on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the first batch of Agniveers will avail a further relaxation of 5 years beyond the upper age limit of 23, taking it to 28 years. (ANI)