Om Prakash Dhankar, head of the Dhankar khap, announcing decisions against 'Agnipath' scheme.
Khap panchayat leaders and some farmer union representatives have announced to "socially isolate" youths who participate in the Agnipath recruitment scheme for the armed forces in Haryana. They have also declared a boycott of politicians from the ruling BJP-JJP combine, and of corporate houses that have supported the scheme.
The Agnipath scheme has elicited protests across the country for it provides for only four years of service, after which at least 75 per cent of the recruits will be let go without pensionary benefits.
A meeting was called on Wednesday at Sampla town in Haryana's Rohtak district in which representatives of various khaps and other community groups from Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab participated. Members of student organisations were part of it too.
Om Prakash Dhankar, head of the Dhankar khap, who presided over the meeting, announced, "We will try to socially isolate those who apply for this recruitment. We are boycotting this scheme which wants young people to be hired as labourers in the name of being an 'Agniveer'." Asked if this amounts to a boycott of the applicants, he said, "We are not using the word 'boycott' for them, but the community will keep a distance from such people."
He did call for a "boycott" of corporate houses and politicians who have supported the scheme announced on June 14. "People will be urged not to buy any products for over Rs 10,000 from these companies," he said, citing the reported boycott of Indian products in countries in the Gulf after some BJP representatives made comments about Prophet Muhammad some weeks ago.
About immediate demands, Mr Dhankar said cases against protesters booked during the agitation against the scheme should be withdrawn. There will now be a "permanent protest" at Chhotu Ram Dham in Sampla, and people from across the region should join it, he said.