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Mohit Dhyani|Jun 27, 2022
NEW DELHI: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has alleged that through the "Agnipath" scheme, the BJP-led Centre is fulfilling Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's goal of "militarising Hindu society" and serving the purpose of the corporations that are getting into defence production projects. According to the latest editorial in party mouthpiece "People's Democracy", there is a deeper aspect of the Agnipath scheme for military recruitment, which makes the plan more dangerous for the armed forces and the society.
"The Agnipath scheme has to be seen as part of the larger project to re-shape the Indian State and its institutions in the Hindutva image. Like the other arms of the State, the Hindutva rulers are going about the restructuring of the armed forces based on their ideological perspective. "The fact that several thousand demobilised soldiers with arms training will join the society every year would go some way in fulfilling Savarkar's goal of militarising Hindu society," the editorial said. It also said the way the criteria for appointment to the post of chief of defence staff (CDS) has been widened has opened the way for greater politicisation of the higher defence leadership of the armed forces. "One will have to wait and see how the 'Agniveers' are going to be trained since the national security advisor, Ajit Doval, has claimed that 'you will find the best of law-abiding citizens in these youth who will have nationalist sentiments and protect national interest'. Will it be Hindutva nationalism that will be inculcated?" it asked.
The CPI (M) also criticised the corporate support that the scheme has received and said it is an example of the "Hindutva-corporate alliance at work". "The way the corporate sector is hailing the scheme, it appears that the army has now become the training school for jobs in big industry. However, the hard reality is, as thousands of ex-servicemen and retired officers know, the recruitment of ex-servicemen by corporates is meagre. "The reason for the support of the corporate sector for the Agnipath scheme lies elsewhere. With the defence production industry open to the private sector, it is the big industrial houses like Tatas and Mahindras who are getting into defence production projects," the editorial said.
The Left party also claimed that the restructuring of the armed forces with contractual soldiers and the availability of a large pool of demobilised soldiers will serve the interests of the corporates as well as the Hindutva forces in the future. "If the corporates have a stake in the restructuring of the armed forces and the privatisation of defence enterprises, the Hindutva forces can look forward to swelling their ranks with a large number of demobilised soldiers who will vent their frustration at not getting jobs and losing their status in the society. "One has only to extrapolate on BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya's remark that if he had to hire someone for the security of the BJP office, he would give preference to Agniveers. The same preference would be extended to recruiting them to the Bajrang Dal and the Hindutva brigade," the editorial in "People's Democracy" said, adding that the scheme is an assault on a vital institution of the Indian State, the armed forces, and needs to be rolled back.
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