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Sonia Gandhi’s letter to Agniveer plan protesters from hospital

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Agnipath scheme protests: The Congress president claimed several ex-soldiers and defence experts have questioned the scheme. (File)

New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi, under treatment for respiratory tract infection in Delhi’s Ganga Ram Hospital, has written a letter to those protesting against the Agnipath army recruitment scheme promising the Congress party’s support. Calling the new armed forces’ recruitment policy completely directionless, Gandhi accused the Narendra Modi government of ignoring the voices of aspirants. 

She said the party will help the protesters in securing the scheme’s withdrawal. She also called for youths to maintain peace while protesting.

“It is unfortunate that the government has announced a new armed forces’ recruitment policy, which is completely directionless and it has done so while ignoring your voices,” Gandhi said in the letter, written in Hindi.

The Congress president claimed several ex-soldiers and defence experts have questioned the scheme that will curtail the service duration for most of the armed forces personnel. 

She said she understands the pain of those who were deprived of jobs in the armed forces due to the three-year recruitment embargo.

“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 said, PTI reported. 

Thousands of armed forces aspirants have been protesting against the scheme that the Centre announced on Tuesday. Around two dozen train coaches across the country were set afire on Friday as the agitation took a violent turn. One person died Telangana in police firing after a mob tried to storm a railway station near Hyderabad.

The aspirants are miffed with the new scheme as it will significantly cut short the service duration for 75 percent of total recruits; the remaining 25 percent will be offered a full 15-year service. The new scheme will also end the pension system.

The government has assured the aspirants they will get support to restart their lives after their service ends. It has also provisioned for a lump-sum severance. 

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