Soon after Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh attacked the Centre over a now-viral section of the recruitment application for the Indian army that asks for caste and religion certificates, claiming this was being done for the first time in Indian history, government sources slammed him saying he and his party "have scored a self-goal".
In a sharply worded tweet this morning, Mr Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha MP and AAP's in-charge for Uttar Pradesh, said the "rotten face of the Modi government has been exposed". He shared a screenshot of the Indian Army recruitment application, highlighting the section where it asks candidates to furnish caste and religion certificates, asking if PM Modi doesn't consider Dalits, backwards, and tribal people capable of joining the army.
मोदी सरकार का घटिया चेहरा देश के सामने आ चुका है।— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) July 19, 2022
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
"This is the first time in India's history that caste is being asked in army recruitment. Mr Modi, do you want to create 'Agniveer' or 'Jativeer'," he wrote in Hindi, in a reference to the controversial new recruitment scheme for the defence forces.
Government sources refuted Mr Singh's allegations, pointing out that this system has existed since the British era.
Post-independence, it was formalised in 1949 through a Special Army Order, they said, adding that the Modi government hasn't changed anything and is just following the established Indian Army procedure being followed for more than seven decades.
In 2013, the Army had told the Supreme Court that it was just for administrative and operational requirements and had no role in the selection process.
Religion is also required for performing last rites according to religious rituals for recruits who die during training and soldiers who die on duty, it clarified.
Several other opposition leaders like Upendra Kushwaha of BJP-ally JD(U) and RJD chief Tejaswi Yadav have also raised this issue.