Strongly objecting to an Agniveer jawan, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, not being accorded a funeral with full military honours, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Raghav Chadha on Sunday hit out at the Centre saying that it only lays bare its ‘Agniveer’ recruitment scheme. The Agniveer jawan was on sentry duty in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri when he died of an accidental discharge from his service weapon.
Addressing a press conference in the national capital, the suspended AAP Rajya Sabha MP said, “What we had feared, happened.”
The AAP MP said his party had strongly criticised the Agniveer scheme and raised strong apprehensions about it when it was introduced by the central government.
“When the BJP government brought the Agniveer Yojana, there were many speculations and concerns around this recruitment scheme that had been left unaddressed. The Aam Aadmi Party, too, criticised the scheme and had raised several questions on it,” Mr Chadha said.
He added that while he was not accorded a funeral in line with the time-honoured military tradition, the AAP government in Punjab decided to lay agniveer Amritpal Singh with full state honours.
“When agniveer Amritpal was not given military honours by the BJP government, the Punjab Police decided to lay him to rest with full state honours. This country is what it is because of our soldiers and not because of (political) leaders,” he said.
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) October 15, 2023
He said the remains of the Agniveer soldier were brought to his village by a private ambulance, without the presence of any Army unit barring a havaldar and two jawans in civil uniform.
“When the mortal remains of Shaheed Amritpal Singh were brought to his native Kotli Kalan village in Mansa, there was no accompanying Army unit. His body, which arrived in a private ambulance, was accompanied by an Army havaldar and two jawans in civil uniform. Not even an army vehicle escorted the ambulance carrying his mortal remains,” Mr Chadha said.
The AAP MP claimed that Amritpal’s family will neither get any pension nor will their son be recognised as a “shaheed”.
“Neither will his family get any pension nor will their son, the Agniveer, get the status of a shaheed. Is this the true face of the Agniveer scheme?” Mr Chadha questioned.
Earlier, on Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann announced that the state government will give Rs 1 crore compensation to the family of the Agniveer jawan as per the state’s policy.
“Whatever may be the policy of the army regarding the death of Shaheed Amritpal Singh, the policy of the Punjab government will remain the same as it is for every martyr. Amritpal Singh will go down as a martyr. We will raise strong objections to this (not according him a funeral with full military honours) with the central government,” Mr Mann posted on ‘X’.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)