The controversy surrounding the Agnipath scheme for temporary induction of soldiers intensified on Wednesday after Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi released a video purportedly showing the father of an Agniveer, saying the family had not received any compensation or assistance from the Centre after his son was killed in a landmine explosion in Jammu & Kashmir’s Naushera in January.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi (PTI)

However, the army made it clear that this was not the case and that the bulk of the compensation was being paid to the next of kin of Agniveer Ajay Kumar. The rest would be paid soon.

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Gandhi shared the clip on X and said, “Defence Minister Rajnath Singh lied in Parliament about the help provided to martyr Agniveer’s family. Martyr Agniveer Ajay’s father himself came clean and exposed their lies. The Defence Minister should apologise to Parliament, the country, the army and the martyr’s family.”

Hours later, the Army posted on X: “Certain social media posts have revealed that no compensation has been paid to the next of kin of Agniveer Ajay Kumar, who lost his life in the line of duty.”

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It added: “It is emphasised that the Indian Army salutes the supreme sacrifice of Agniveer Ajay Kumar. The last rites were performed with full military honours. Out of the total amount due, the family of Agniveer Ajay has already been paid 98.39 lakhs. Ex-Gratia and other benefits to the tune of about 67 lakhs, as applicable under the provisions of Agniveer Scheme, will be paid in the final settlement soon after the due police verification. The total amount will be About 1.65 Cr.”

It was also “re-emphasized that emoluments due to a fallen hero be promptly disbursed to the next of kin of deceased soldiers, including Agniveers”.

The Agnipath plan was at the centre of a heated debate in Parliament, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior ministers accusing the Congress of spreading lies about the recruitment model.

In the video shared by Gandhi, Kumar’s father can be heard saying, “We have not got anything from the Centre except some help from the Punjab government. The defence minister said in Parliament that 1 crore is given to the family when an Agniveer dies, but we have not received anything. Rahul Gandhi raises the issue…this plan should be scrapped.”

On Monday, Gandhi attacked the government in the Lok Sabha over the Agnipath scheme. He alleged that the Agniviers recruited through the scheme were not given martyr status and were considered as ‘use and throw’ workers.

“LoP should not mislead the house by making wrong speeches. If an Agniveer dies in a war or at the border, his family will get 1 crore,” the defence minister said in response.

Modi told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that the Congress is against any reform that strengthens the country’s armed forces.

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