In yet another controversy surrounding the Agnipath Scheme, opposition parties claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is attempting to create ‘Jaativeers’ through the use of Agniveers, claiming that caste and religion certificates are now required for Agniveer recruitment. According to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), there is a plan to create Jaativeers using Agniveers. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) claimed that Agniveer has an RSS-instilled caste bias.
The BJP responded by denying the allegations, saying, ‘Since then, this has been the norm. The hiring procedure has not been altered. In 2013, the Indian Army submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court stating that there is no role of caste as far as the selection process is concerned, however, there is a column for caste that is required to be filled during the recruitment process as it is an administrative or operative requirement,’ said Sambit Patra, the BJP’s national spokesperson.
CLARIFICATION FROM THE INDIAN ARMY
The Indian Army, for its part, clarified that no changes had been made to the Army’s recruitment policy for Agniveer, and that caste and religion columns had been used since the program’s inception. ‘ Aspirants have always been required to submit caste certificates and, if applicable, religion certificates. In this regard, the Agniveer recruitment scheme has remained unchanged Officials from the Indian Army stated. Religion is also required for performing last rites in accordance with religious rituals for recruits who die during training and soldiers who die in combat,’ the Army officials added.
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