Jammu, Jun 16: Army aspirants on Thursday staged a protest here against the Agnipath scheme to recruit jawans on a contractual basis for a four-year-period followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.
Most of these aspirants have cleared their medical and physical tests for their recruitment in the army last year and were awaiting the written examination, but it now stands cancelled.
"We submitted our forms for the recruitment in the army in February 2020 but the process started a year later due to COVID-19 outbreak. The written test was initially scheduled for April 25 last year but was postponed several times," Munish Sharma, an army aspirant, said.
Sharma was among a large number of youngsters who assembled outside the Press Club here to protest against the new recruitment scheme.
"Today, we came to know that the process for our recruitment stands cancelled and we have to re-apply in accordance with Agnipath. It is a great injustice to us," he said, adding that the new scheme had rendered "the youth hopeless".
He said the protesting aspirants worked hard over the last couple of years to ensure their selection in the army.
Another army aspirant Sourav Gangotra said the pension bills of MPs and MLAs are increasing but the government is not willing to provide pensions to aspiring soldiers.
He demanded that the new scheme be withdrawn and written examination for the vacancies announced previously be held at the earliest.
Another group of youngsters staged a protest at Arnia in R S Pura sector in the outskirts of Jammu. They blocked the main road and also burnt tyres before being persuaded by the police to disperse.
"This government is playing with our future. We want our selection as per the old recruitment scheme as we have already cleared the physical and medical tests last year," Gourav Manhas, a protester, said.