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I'm sad that govt ignored your voice & announced directionless 'Agnipath' scheme: Sonia Gandhi

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New Delhi, Jun 18: Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, who is currently being treated for a fungal infection detected in her lower respiratory tract, along with other post-COVID symptoms at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, on Saturday appealed to anti-'Agnipath' protesters to protest in "non-violent manner."

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi

"I'm sad that the government ignored your voice and announced a new scheme that is completely directionless. I appeal to all of you to protest peacefully in a non-violent manner," Gandhi said, stating that the Indian National Congress is with them.

The Congress president said several ex-soldiers and defence experts have questioned the scheme. Gandhi said she can understand the pain of the youths over the "three-year delay" in recruitment despite lakhs of vacancies in the Army.

Gandhi said she also empathises with the youths who are awaiting results and appointments after taking the test for induction in the Air Force. "The Congress stands with you with full force and promises to struggle for your interests and for the withdrawal of this scheme."

"Like true patriots, we will articulate your voices following the path of truth, non-violence, resilience and peace," she told the youths in her letter.

Youths across the country have taken to the streets and are protesting against the new short-term recruitment scheme for entry in the armed forces. There have been violent protests in several places and irate youths have torched trains and damaged public property at various places.

The 'Agnipath' Scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces and provide a fresh lease of 'Josh' and 'Jazba' whilst at the same time bringing about a transformational shift towards a more tech-savvy Armed Forces - which is indeed the need of the hour, the defence ministry highlighted. The selection will be the exclusive jurisdiction of the Armed Forces. A total of 46,000 Agniveers will be recruited this year.

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