Cong leaders meet Kovind; raise ‘mistreatment’ of MPs by cops, seek withdrawal Agnipath scheme

Senior Congress leaders on Monday met with President Ram Nath Kovind and raised the issue of alleged mistreatment of party MPs by police during their protest against the interrogation of former party chief Rahul Gandhi and requesting the withdrawal of Agnipath’s defense recruitment scheme.

The Congress delegation consisted of Rajya Sabha Opposition Leader Mallikarjun outside, Lok Sabha Congress Leader Adir Ranjan Chaudhry, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Jhelot, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Bagel, senior leaders B Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh and KC Venugopal.

“Given the situation at our borders, it is imperative that we have soldiers in our armed forces who are young, well-trained, motivated, happy, satisfied, and assured of their future,” Congress said in its note to the President.

“The Agnipath scheme does not present any of these goals. Through you, we urge the government to withdraw the scheme, conduct broader consultations in Parliament, parliamentary committees and beyond with all stakeholders, and address issues of quality, efficiency and economy without compromising the well-being of our armed forces.

The party also wrote to the president to register its strong protest against the “vicious and unprovoked attack by the Delhi police on the congressmen”, which falls under the direct jurisdiction of the Union Home Ministry.

The second memorandum indicated that they had met both the Chief Lok Sabha and the Chief Rajya Sabha and submitted their petition, “We request that you ensure that this petition is referred to the Concessions Committee immediately and that the Committee initiates a time-bound investigation into the breach of concession.”

More than 50 party MPs earlier held a meeting at Parliament House and marched in solidarity from Parliament to Vijay Chowk, where they were stopped by Delhi Police.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, along with other leaders, at the ‘Satyagraha’ Congress in support of the Agnipath protests.

After the meeting, Karg said they had raised the issue of harassment of senior Congress leaders and MPs who had organized peaceful protests against the questioning of Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in a “false case”.

Our leaders were harassed and detained in police stations in remote locations for 10 to 12 hours without any offense or case against them. The police have to inform the chief of the Lok Sabha and the chief of the Rajya Sabha if the MPs are detained for long hours.”

“Our rights have also been violated during our protests against the ED measure. Our deputies have been beaten, especially female deputies, and we have reported this to the President and urged him to take action against the police personnel involved.”

Karg said they also raised the issue of Agnipath’s draft scheme to enlist in the armed forces and the “wrong way” in which it was done.

It was formulated because it would not benefit the country.

“Young people will not benefit from this and will not get any work after four years of service in the armed forces,” he said.

Ramesh said in a series of tweets, that they met the President, to urge the government to withdraw the Agnipath scheme, to hold wide consultations and to address issues of quality, efficiency and economy, without compromising the welfare of the armed forces and to register the strongest possible protest against the evil and unjustified attack by the Delhi Police on the congressmen, Which falls under the direct jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry of Home Affairs, ensuring there is a time-bound investigation by the concession committee on the breach of concession.” Chidambaram said Agnipath’s scheme was “ill-thought-out and misleading” and thus, the country’s youth were in the streets protesting and revolting against it.

“The scheme is completely wrong and none of the arguments presented are justified,” he said, adding that the government returns every day with some change or waiver in the scheme and describes it as a pre-planned change.

It is a dangerous scheme that will reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of our armed forces. We will have a soldier trained for six months serving for 3.5 years, with the sure knowledge that after four years he will be unemployed,” he said.

“What kind of soldier he will be, and what kind of commitment he will have.” The former union minister said the congressional delegation had asked the president, as commander in chief of the armed forces, to protect the constitution, security and defense of the country as well as the traditions and spirit of the army, navy and air force.

We also urged him to ensure those who join the defense forces are not left high and dry after four years, he said, adding that the issue would be brought up in Parliament.

He said the party also submitted a memo regarding “excesses” of congressional leaders by the police who entered the party office, dragged them and assaulted them.

“There is absolutely no justification. We were organizing a peaceful satyagra. We had no stones in our hands, we did not have a lathe, we did not indulge in stone throwing, we were simply raising slogans and showing our solidarity with our leader. Nawab and others were assaulted and roughed up”, claiming that A female deputy was roughed up and her clothes ripped.

“This is a clear breach of the concession and a violation of Section 19 and Section 21 and we have asked Rashtrapati to cause an investigation into this matter and forward the matter to the concession committee,” Chidambaram said.

The party also organized a demonstration in Gentar Al-Muntar in support of their demands.

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