Army aspirants protest in Jammu

Army aspirants protest in Jammu

Army aspirants protest in Jammu over ‘cancellation’ of written test in view of Agnipath

Hundreds of Army aspirants protested outside the force’s recruitment office at B C Road in Jammu on Thursday against the alleged cancellation of a scheduled written test in view of the introduction of Agnipath, the Centre’s new recruitment scheme for defense forces

The Jammu and Kashmir Police resorted to lathi-charge as the protests led to the disruption of vehicular traffic on the busy road

The protesters first blocked the busy Tawi bridge and raised slogans against the government, disrupting vehicular traffic for nearly an hour in the morning. Later, they marched towards the recruitment office at the B C Road and held a demonstration outside its main entrance.

According to the protesters, they had applied for recruitment as soldiers way back in 2019 and even undergone physical and medical fitness tests. They were waiting for the written test, scheduled to be held on Thursday, which, they said, had already got canceled from time to time during the past one-and-a-half years on account of various reasons, including Covid-19. They said that the authorities now canceled the written exam citing the newly introduced Agnipath scheme. “Preparing for the written test during the past one-and-a-half years, a number of us were on the verge of crossing the upper age for recruitment,’’ one of the protesters said.

“If the government had planned not to complete the recruitment process by holding the written exam, it should have informed us earlier,” another said, asking why it kept them waiting for this long.

Protests against Agnipath, a “major defense policy reform” for recruitment into the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force on a short-term contractual basis have been raging in many states, including Bihar, Haryana, New Delhi, and Jharkhand. Aspirants across half a dozen districts in Bihar on Thursday blocked rail and road traffic, and also vandalized some shops and private establishments.

The Agnipath scheme is expected to make the permanent force levels leaner in the over 13-lakh strong armed forces. Most soldiers will leave the service in just four years under the Agnipath scheme. Of the 45,000 to 50,000 recruited annually, only 25 percent will be allowed to continue for another 15 years under a permanent commission

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