In a letter to President Droupadi Murmu, Rahul Gandhi calls for justice for Agniveers

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New Delhi:

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday wrote to President Droupadi Murmu against the Agnipath project, alleging that there is “discrimination” in the nature and extent of benefits provided to families of soldiers killed in action.

Mr Gandhi said that although it was a political issue which fell within the domain of an elected government, an “exception is warranted in this case” because she is the supreme commander of the armed forces and the issue affects national security.

In his two-page letter to the Indian President, Mr. Gandhi said he was writing to him requesting him to provide ‘nyya’ (justice) to the Agniveers, who laid down their lives in the service of the nation.

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“There can be no clearer illustration of the fundamental flaw in Project Agnipath: the creation of an ‘inferior’ cadre of soldiers expected to work on similar tasks with lower pay, benefits and prospects,” he said. -he declared while sharing his letter with President Murmu on the project.

Mr. Gandhi also spoke about his recent meeting with the family of one Agniveer Ajay Kumar (23) in Ramgarh Sardaran village in Punjab, who made the supreme sacrifice last January in a landmine explosion near from the Line of Control in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said like every Indian, he was heartbroken over his martyrdom as Ajay’s promising life was tragically cut short at such a young age. He said he was also shocked to find his family living in abject poverty.

“Despite the loss of their son, they were proud of his sacrifice in service to the nation. However, they also described the shocking apathy and insensitivity shown by the government in the wake of his death.

“Ajay’s family has not received any of the lifetime benefits or social security that families of regular soldiers receive. This means they will not receive pension, medical care, educational assistance or preference in matters of employment,” he said.

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Mr. Gandhi also said that despite Ajay’s dream to serve his country, his hard work and highest sacrifices, his family is denied the respect and recognition that other soldiers enjoy, only because he is an Agniveer.

“The tragic situation faced by Ajay’s family is the same injustice that thousands of Agniveers face today, and thousands more will face in the future,” he said .

Poor families like Ajay’s have little respite despite the ultimate sacrifice of their children, he said.

“The discrimination in the nature and extent of benefits extended to the families of our slain Agniveers, as compared to regular soldiers, deserves your urgent attention,” Mr. Gandhi said in his letter.

“This injustice – is why the Congress Party and our Indian allies strongly opposed the Agnipath project and promised to repeal it if we form the government,” the former Congress leader said.

In the letter, Mr Gandhi said: “I request you to intervene. I recognize that a president generally does not interfere in matters of policy, which are the domain of elected government.

“However, I believe an exception is warranted in this case, given both the seriousness of this issue and your unique position.

“You are the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. You have taken an oath to devote yourself to the welfare of the people of India.” “Isn’t this discrimination against our Agniveer martyrs a risk to our national security? Is this not a grave injustice to our young people who courageously risk their lives to serve? » asked Mr. Gandhi in his letter.

“Don’t we have a duty to ensure the well-being of Ajay’s parents, his sisters and other families like theirs,” he also asked.

“These urgent questions can only be answered in the affirmative.

“Therefore, I appeal to you to use your distinguished office to provide nyaay – justice to the Agniveer soldiers who give their lives, ensuring that they receive the same benefits as any soldier who makes the greatest sacrifice for our motherland,” did he declare.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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