Politicisation of Armed Forces...Military veterans' letter 'bomb' to President of India goes 'phuss', ex-Army chief Rodrigues calls it 'fake news'

The alleged letter to President Ram Nath Kovind by military veterans over politicisation of Armed Forced has turned into a full blown controversy with many veterans denying that they signed the letter. Former Army chief General SF Rodrigues and former Air Force chief NC Suri, are among the "signatories" who have denied signing the letter.

Politicisation of Armed Forces...Military veterans letter bomb to President of India goes phuss, ex-Army chief Rodrigues calls it fake news
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New Delhi, April 12: The alleged letter to President Ram Nath Kovind by military veterans over politicisation of Armed Forced has turned into a full blown controversy with many veterans denying that they signed the letter. Former Army chief General SF Rodrigues and former Air Force chief NC Suri, are among the "signatories" who have denied signing the letter.



Suri denied writing the letter while saying he was "misquoted". "To put an end to it, I wrote that armed forces are apolitical and support the politically elected government. And no, my consent has not been taken for any such letter. I don't agree with whatever has been written in that letter. We have been misquoted," Suri told ANI. He clarified that the letter was penned by one Major Chaudhary and not Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas. Suri said, "He (Major Chaudhary) has written this and it was coming on WhatsApp and emails."

Even strange is the case of General Rodrigues. Being mentioned as the first signatory on the letter, he denied signing the letter. The former Army chief said, "We in the services have always done what the Government in power ordered us, we are an instrument of the state. We are apolitical. Anyone can say anything and then sell it as fake news, I don't know who this gentleman is who wrote this." Rodrigues said.





Former Army Vice Chief Lt General ML Naidu too denied."No, my consent has not been taken for any such letter and neither have I written any such letter," ANI quoted him as saying.

However, Major General Harsha Kakkar did confirm his consent. "Yes, I had given my consent for being a signatory to the letter. I had given my consent only after knowing the contents of it," he said

Rashtrapati Bhavan sources too have denied receiving any letter from military veterans.

Earlier it was reported that over 150 military veterans have complained to President Ram Nath Kovind against political leaders who they claim are taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes and repeatedly using the armed forces for political gains.

In a letter written on Thursday, they urged the President to take "all necessary steps to urgently direct all political parties that they must forthwith desist from using the military, military uniforms or symbols, and any actions by military formations or personnel, for political purposes or to further their political agendas".

They said that "some concerns have caused considerable alarm and disquiet among both the serving and the retired personnel of the forces".

They have also objected to the use of pictures of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman -- who was captured by Pakistan and then released -- in posters along with the image of soldiers in election hoardings and campaign.

"The unusual and completely unacceptable practice of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes, and even going so far as to claim the Armed Forces to be 'Modiji ki Sena'.

"This is in addition to media pictures of election platforms and campaigns in which party workers are seen wearing military uniforms; and posters and images with pictures of soldiers and especially of Wing Commander Varthaman displayed," the letter said.

The veterans among the signatories included Generals S.F. Rodrigues, Shankar Roy Chowdhury, Deepak Kapoor; Admirals Laxminarayan Ramdas, Vishnu Bhagwat, Arun Prakash, Sureesh Mehta; and Air Chief Marshal N.C. Suri.

In the letter, they said: "We do appreciate that complaints by some senior retired personnel, including a written submission from a former Chief of the Naval Staff to the Chief Election Commissioner, have elicited a prompt response.

"Indeed a notification has been issued asking for an explanation from those responsible for these statements, including from the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. However, we regret to state that these do not appear to have resulted in any substantive change of behaviour and practice on the ground."

With the ongoing general elections, the veterans said they fear that such incidents may only increase as polling day draws near.

"We believe that you (President) will surely agree that any such misuse of the Armed Forces established under the Constitution of India and under the supreme command of the President of India would impinge adversely on the morale and fighting efficiency of the serving man or woman in uniform. It could therefore directly affect national security and national integrity.

"We therefore appeal to you to ensure that the secular and a-political character of our Armed Forces is preserved," the veterans appealed to the President.

They have also sent a copy of the letter to the Chief Election Commissioner for necessary action.

News24 Bureau/ IANS


Photo: Google

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