4 Jul 2024

Army Refutes Rahul Gandhi's Claim, Clarifies Agniveer Compensation Amidst Political Row

The Indian Army has clarified that the family of Agniveer Ajay Kumar received Rs 98.39 lakh in compensation shortly after Rahul Gandhi's claim that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had misled Parliament about the payment. 

In a post on X, the Army emphasized its respect for Ajay Kumar's sacrifice and stated, "The last rites were carried out with full Military Honours. Of the total amount due, the family of Agniveer Ajay has already been paid Rs 98.39 lakhs. Ex-Gratia and other benefits amounting to approximately 67 lakhs, as per the provisions of the Agniveer Scheme, will be paid on Final Account Settlement shortly post due police verification. The total amount will be approximately Rs 1.65 crore."

Rajnath Singh's office also reposted the Army's statement, reinforcing the commitment to the welfare of Agniveers. This clarification came within hours of Rahul Gandhi's video message asserting that no compensation had been paid to Ajay Kumar's family.

Defence Minister lied in Parliament: Rahul

In his message, Gandhi, seated beside a picture of Lord Shiva, said, "Protection of truth is the basis of every religion. But Defence Minister Rajnath Singh lied in Parliament about the assistance given to the family of martyred Agniveer. Ajay Singh's father himself has told the truth about their lies. The Defence Minister should apologize to Parliament, the country, the Army, and the family of Agniveer Ajay Singh ji."

Ajay Singh's father corroborated Rahul's claim

Ajay Singh's father corroborated Rahul's claim in the video, stating that the family had not received any compensation from the Central government. He supported Gandhi's call for stopping the Agniveer recruitment scheme and reinstating regular recruitment for military personnel.

Under current provisions, families of Agniveers who die in the line of duty are not eligible for regular benefits like pensions. In February, a parliamentary panel recommended that these families receive the same benefits as those of regular military personnel.

Rajnath Singh had objected to Gandhi's remarks in LS

Earlier, Rajnath Singh had objected to Gandhi's remarks in Lok Sabha regarding the Agniveer scheme, asserting that financial assistance of Rs 1 crore is provided to the families of Agniveers who die in the line of duty or during a war. 

Rahul had accused government of creating a divide between soldiers. 

"You are creating a divide between soldiers. One will get the name of a martyr, while one will not (the Agniveer). One will get the pension, while the other will not (the Agniveer). An Agniveer is not called a jawan. And then you call yourself a patriot," Rahul Gandhi remarked, indicating that the Agniveer scheme creates inequality within the armed forces.

Rajnath accused Rahul of misleading Parliament 

Rajnath Singh responded by accusing Rahul of misleading Parliament with incorrect statements. "He (Rahul Gandhi) should not try to mislead the House by making wrong statements. Financial assistance of Rs one crore is given to the family of the Agniveer who sacrifices his life while protecting our borders or during war," the Defence Minister reiterated.

The Centre maintains that the Agniveer scheme offers a robust financial package at the end of the four-year service, providing a good start for Agniveers along with the unique experience of serving in the forces.

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