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Regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Military parades to the tune of BJP’s colts

Major DP Singh urged defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman to “put a check” on such decisions.

Imran Ahmed Siddiqui New Delhi Published 15.10.18, 09:28 PM
Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha members burn the Pakistani national flag to protest against attacks by Pakistani terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir

Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha members burn the Pakistani national flag to protest against attacks by Pakistani terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir File picture

The defence ministry has allowed the BJP’s youth wing to use a non-civilian area inside the Secunderabad cantonment to hold its national convention, spreading outrage among army veterans as well as serving officers.

The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha has been permitted access to the Bison Polo ground till October 28 and the parade ground from October 23 to October 28.

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A defence ministry official sought to justify the decision by saying that it was an old practice to allow political programmes in cantonments but he added the crucial words “in civilian areas” and desisted from listing the earlier instances.

Several army veterans said a parade ground could not be described as a civilian area, adding that it was ridiculous to stage political events on military premises.

The permission letter, dated October 13 and addressed to BJP Telangana chief K. Laxman, was signed by a lieutenant colonel but it mentions that the grounds had been “allotted for the subject event (the Morcha convention) by MoD (ministry of defence)”.

Through a list of dos and don’ts, the letter conveys its concerns on the parade ground. Laxman has been asked to ensure that “no permanent construction/digging activity is undertaken on the parade ground”.

The grounds will have to be restored to their “original condition with appropriate cleanliness at your cost”, the letter adds.

A retired officer, Major D.P. Singh, asked defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman to “put a check” on the decision.

“Here starts another degradation of #Indian Army Madam@nsitharaman May pls put a check. 1 side forces r being used2clean up spoiled things due2 misuse/corruption by civilians On the other hand, things kept intact are being opened 4 their use,” Singh tweeted.

Another veteran, Rohit Agarwal, tweeted: “Holding political rallies inside a Cantt is WRONG. The designs behind opening of Cantts becoming clearer..... And we have impotent senior officers who don’t dare to take a stand Disgusted.......”

A serving officer said “it is ridiculous to make cantonments a hub for political activities”

Another official said the defence ministry had granted the sanction despite objections from the military.

A ministry official claimed that “in the past too political parties had been allowed to hold programmes in cantonments in civilian areas.”

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