A screenshot of an old newspaper clipping reporting the death of a young army aspirant is being shared on social media with captions falsely linking it to the Centre's Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the three services - Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.
BOOM found that the newspaper clipping reports a different incident from earlier this year, and the claims linking it to the Agnipath recruitment scheme are false.
Under the Agnipath scheme, the new recruits, called the Agniveers, will be recruited on a contract of four years and 45,000 to 50,000 personnel will be recruited annually. However, only 25% of these will be retained after four years. Those retained will be allowed to continue their services for the next 15 years and will be able to avail benefits like health insurance.
The government had earlier set the upper age limit as 21 and was changed to 23 on Thursday amid massive protests which turned violent in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.
The viral post shares the screenshot of a newspaper clip with a Hindi headline which translates to 'Father, I Could Not Become A Soldier in This Life, I Will Definitely Become One in Next Life'.
(Hindi: बेरोजगारी ने मार डाला - बापू! इस जन्म में फौजी नहीं बन पाया, अगले जन्म में ज़रूर बनूँगा)
Several Facebook users posted this image with captions linking the news to the recent Agnipath scheme.
A Hindi caption with one such Facebook post translates to 'Who is responsible for this suicide? The person, who snatched thousand lives during demonetization? The same who dubbed Corona as opportunity during pandemic?'.
(Hindi: कौन है इस आत्महत्या का जिम्मेदार? क्या वही जो नोटबन्दी में हज़ारों की ज़िंदगी छीन ली? क्या वही जो कोरोना में आपदा को अवसर बताने वाला #श्मसान_का_गिद्ध है।)
BOOM did a reverse image search along with a keyword search with the Hindi words used in the headline. We found the same news published on the website Today Haryana on April 29, 2022.
According to the article, an aspirant ended his life in Bhiwani, Haryana after he was unable to secure a position in the army after multiple attempts.
A report published in the Indian Express on April 30, 2022, stated that a 23-year-old army aspirant had ended his life at a village in Bhiwani district, Haryana. According to the report, the deceased, identified as Pawan, had been trying to make it to the armed forces.
Speaking to Express, a police official said, "Two-three times he cleared the physical fitness exam for Army recruitment but could not make it to the final cut-off. He was hoping to make the final cut in his remaining attempts but the recruitment process was put on hold amid Covid-19 pandemic due to which he crossed the age bar."
Dainik Bhaskar's Hisar edition published the report on the same day. View the report here.
If you or anyone you know is facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, help is available. The helpline numbers for suicide prevention can be viewed here.
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