News Brief

Indian Army Fact-Checks Rahul Gandhi, Calls Out False Claims About 'No Compensation For Slain Agniveers'

Kuldeep Negi

Jul 04, 2024, 12:07 AM | Updated Jul 04, 2024, 09:16 AM IST

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

In what has caused much embarrassment for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the Indian Army has fact-checked his claims regarding compensation for the families of slain Agniveers.

The Army issued a clarification late on Wednesday (3 July) night, stating that the family of Agniveer Ajay Kumar has received Rs 98.39 lakh in compensation so far.

This announcement came shortly after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh "lied" to parliament about a Rs 1 crore compensation being paid to the family.

"Certain posts on Social Media have brought out that compensation hasn't been paid to the Next of Kin of Agniveer Ajay Kumar who lost his life in the line of duty," the Army said in a post on X.

The Army acknowledged Agniveer Ajay Kumar's heroic sacrifice.

"The last rites were carried out with full Military Honours. Of the total amount due, family of Agniveer Ajay has already been paid Rs 98.39 lakhs. Ex - Gratia and other benefits amounting to approximately 67 lakhs, as applicable according to the provisions of the Agniveer Scheme, will be paid on Final Account Settlement shortly post due Police verification. The total amount will be Rs 1.65 Cr approximately," the Army added.

Following the Army's clarification, Rajnath Singh's office reposted the statement, saying, "Indian Army is committed to the welfare of Agniveers."

The Agniveer's family was paid Rs 98 lakh at the end of June, NDTV reported citing sources.

The Army's statement was released within two hours of a video message by Rahul Gandhi, reiterating his claim that no compensation had been paid to Agniveer Ajay Kumar's family.

"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. Agniveer Ajay Singh's father himself has told the truth about their lies. The Defence Minister should apologise to the Parliament, the country, the Army and the family of Agniveer Ajay Singh ji," said Gandhi.

The Agnipath scheme, launched in 2022, aims to induct personnel into the armed forces on a short-term basis to reduce the age profile of the three services. Recruits under the scheme are called Agniveers.

In the same video, Ajay Singh's father claimed that "their family had not received" any compensation from the Central government, contradicting the Defence Minister's statement.

"Rahul Gandhi is raising our voice in Parliament that families of martyrs must get all necessary help. Agniveer recruitment must stop and regular recruitment should be reinstated," the father stated.

Over the years, the Defence and Home Ministries have clarified that there is no official usage of the term 'martyr'.

Currently, families of Agniveers who die in the line of duty do not qualify for regular benefits like pensions.

Earlier on Monday (3 July), Rajnath Singh objected to Rahul Gandhi's remarks in Lok Sabha about the Agniveer scheme, stating that financial assistance of Rs 1 crore is given to the family of an Agniveer who dies in the line of duty or during a war.

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Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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