Hitting out at the protestors, Union minister and former Army chief General V K Singh (retd) on Sunday said that Agnipath is a voluntary scheme and those who want to come can come.
"It's a voluntary scheme... Those who want to come can come...Who is saying you to come? You are burning buses and trains, has anyone told you that you will be taken to the army?" he was quoted as saying by ANI.
"I believe that if one comes after serving in the army for 4 years then one is capable and doesn't need any support... Army is not a mode of employment. It's not a shop or company. Whoever goes into Army, goes there voluntarily," he added.
Speaking to reporters on the sideines of a programme here, he also accused the Congress of trying to mislead the youth and create unrest in the country.
Replying to a question over Priyanka Gandhi's statement made earlier in the day in Delhi that the Agnipath scheme will destroy the youth as well as the army, Singh said, "Congress is upset because Rahul Gandhi is being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Hence, the party finds fault with even the best of the best work of the government." "The Opposition, particularly the Congress, is trying to mislead the youngsters. The only work that the Opposition is left with is to criticise and stop any government schemes. They want to create unrest in the country to defame the government," he added.
The Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14, provides for the recruitment of youths in the age bracket of 17-and-half to 21 years for only four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years. Later, the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022.
However, massive protests have erupted in parts of India, including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, with youths taking to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the scheme.
(With inputs from agencies)