Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday alleged that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had “lied” in Parliament on the issue of compensation to the families of “martyred” Agniveers and demanded an apology.

The Congress leader also shared a video on X which allegedly features the father of a deceased Agniveer. He stated that Rajnath Singh had claimed that a compensation of Rs 1 crore had been paid to the kin of the martyred Agniveers, but his family had not received any help.

Gandhi said in his video message that in his speech in Parliament he had stated that protection of truth is the basis of every religion.

“In response, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in front of the photo of Lord Shiva, lied to the country, the armed forces and Agniveers about compensation,” Gandhi said in the video.

He then referred to the alleged statement made by the father of an Agniveer martyr, Ajay Singh.

Festive offer

According to Ajay Singh’s father, Rajnath Singh had stated that the families of the martyrs had been given compensation of Rs 1 crore, but his family itself had not received any help.

“Rahul Gandhi raises our voice in Parliament that families of martyrs should be given all necessary help. Agniveer recruitment should be stopped and regular recruitment should be restored,” he said.

Gandhi said the Defence Minister had “lied” to the family of martyr Ajay Singh, the armed forces and the country’s youth and that he should apologise to them.

Gandhi’s fresh attack came after Rajnath Singh refuted the Leader of the Opposition’s claims in the Lok Sabha about Agnipath’s military recruitment plan. Singh said the plan was implemented after seeking suggestions from 158 organisations.

Gandhi on Monday criticised the Agnipath plan for short-term military recruitment, saying the government is not even giving them the status of a “shaheed” (martyr) and their families are not being compensated if they die in battle.

Singh, who intervened when Gandhi was speaking on the motion of thanks to the President, said an Agniveer who lays down his life in the line of duty would be given a compensation of Rs 1 crore.

The minister had asked Gandhi not to mislead Parliament and requested Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to quash the former Congress leader’s allegations about the Agnipath scheme.

Intervening, the Defence Minister had said, “I would humbly request the Leader of the Opposition not to try to mislead the House. With regard to the Agniveer plan, direct contact was made with many people, 158 organisations, their suggestions were taken, and then this Agniveer plan was tabled. This plan was tabled after much thought.” “And I also want to make it clear that such plans are operational in many countries. It is there in the US, it is there in the UK. People there have no objection. Without understanding the Agniveer plan, without getting proper information about it…misleading the House in this manner cannot be considered appropriate,” the Minister added.

After Singh’s refutation, Gandhi said, “Rajnath Singh has an opinion and I have an opinion, but Agnivers know the truth. Agnivers know what they have to go through.”