Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh recently stoked a controversy when he claimed that the Indian Army recruitment application asks aspirants to furnish caste and religion certificates. Sanjay in a Twitter post highlighted the section of the application seeking candidates to provide the details.
He didn’t stop here and instead mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn’t consider Dalits, backwards and tribal people capable of joining the Army. Besides, he claimed that “this is the first time in India’s history that caste is being asked in army recruitment.”
मोदी सरकार का घटिया चेहरा देश के सामने आ चुका है।
क्या मोदी जी दलितों/पिछड़ों/आदिवासियों को सेना भर्ती के क़ाबिल नही मानते?
भारत के इतिहास में पहली बार “सेना भर्ती “ में जाति पूछी जा रही है।
मोदी जी आपको “अग्निवीर” बनाना है या “जातिवीर” pic.twitter.com/fxgBre38Ft
— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) July 19, 2022
The opposition parties saw an opportunity in Sanjay Singh’s allegation to train guns at the Modi government without verifying the fact. But is Sanjay Singh’s contention really valid? A BIG NO.
The charges against the Modi government only painted the opposition in a bad light and added to the criticism that the political parties are facing for their stand against the new defence recruitment scheme Agniveer.
The government and Indian Army officials categorically denied the opposition parties’ allegations. According to news agency ANI which cited Indian Army officials, asking aspirants to submit caste certificates and if required, religion certificates was always there. There has been no change for Agniveer recruitment scheme in this regard, they said.
But why Army asks aspirants to furnish caste certificates?
According to the government’s argument, the system of seeking caste and religion certificates has been there since the British era.
Religion in the recruitment of soldiers is required for performing last rites as per religious rituals for recruits who die during training and soldiers who die in harness.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh rubbished the allegation of Sanjay Singh as a rumour. “The earlier system, existing since the pre-independence era, is going on. No change has been made. Old system is being continued,” he countered the AAP leader.
Notably, this is not the first time when the issue of caste and religion in Army recruitment has cropped up. Back in 2013, the Indian Army had told the Supreme Court that it does not recruit candidates on the basis of caste, religion and region basis.