Regular-article-logo Saturday, 03 June 2023

Politicizing the military is an inglorious practice

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman's dismissal of veterans' concerns is deplorable

The Telegraph Published 29.04.19, 10:19 AM
Although the recent letter by armed forces veterans to the President of India does not mention any political party, it is clear that the concern is regarding comments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top leaders of the BJP

Although the recent letter by armed forces veterans to the President of India does not mention any political party, it is clear that the concern is regarding comments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top leaders of the BJP PTI photo

Sir — The letter written by over 150 veterans of the armed forces to the president, Ram Nath Kovind, requesting him to stop the politicization of the armed forces is timely (“Veterans’ appeal: Don’t politicise military”, April 13). The veterans want the president, the supreme commander of the armed forces, to ensure that political parties do not use the army, it actions, achievements or symbols for electoral gains. Although the letter does not mention any political party, it is clear that the concern is regarding some recent comments made by the prime minister and other top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The response of the defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, was to dub this letter as ‘fake’. This shows that the leaders of the BJP are not going to desist from the devious path that they have embarked on. The party may or may not gain from this, but the nation will definitely suffer as a result of such deplorable behaviour.


Shovanlal Chakraborty


Sir — It is heartening to note that the efforts of the BJP to describe the letter to the president signed by retired army personnel as ‘fake’ proved to be a non-starter. Among those who chose to stand by the letter were the former army chief, General Shankar Roy Chowdhury, and the former navy chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta.

The armed forces serve the country and not political parties. A single party claiming credit for the army’s valiant efforts is unfortunate. Similarly, the description of the army as “Modiji ki sena” is unwarranted. Politicizing the army for electoral gains should be stopped at once.

Debasish Chatterjee


Sir — In an unprecedented move, more than 150 veterans of the armed forces wrote a letter to the president, expressing their “alarm and disquiet” at political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes in order to advance their electoral fortunes. Although the letter does not take names, it is obvious that such a brazen politicization of the armed forces is carried out by none other than the BJP leadership, including the prime minister of India.

A BJP chief minister went to the extent of calling the army, “Modiji ki sena”. The prime minister himself is missing no opportunity to take credit for the Balakot air strikes. He even exhorted first-time voters to dedicate their votes to the jawans who carried out the Balakot strikes. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back, forcing the veterans to seek the president’s intervention to prevent politicians from dragging the armed forces into the electoral slugfest.

S.K. Choudhury


Speedy enquiry

Sir — A junior court assistant, who had been dismissed on charges of bribery and insubordination last year, has levelled a grave allegation against the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi. There has never been any reason to question the integrity of Gogoi. He has been part of benches that have delivered some landmark judgments. More important, he will probably preside over some sensitive cases in the near future. These might have hurt vested interests. One cannot dismiss the possibility that the allegations are part of a conspiracy against him. Nevertheless, a serious allegation like that of sexual assault must be thoroughly probed and speedily resolved.

Sukhamay Biswas


Sir — It takes tremendous courage to level charges against the topmost judge in the country. The complaint of sexual assault against the CJI should thus not be neglected on the grounds that it may be a conspiracy. No one is above the law. Although the judicial process of this case may be complex, no stone should be left unturned to uncover the truth.

Chanchal Nandy

West Burdwan


Laggard Telegraph file picture

Sir — The condition of Calcutta’s trams remains deplorable even though several attempts have been made in the past to resurrect them. Among the steps taken to make trams more appealing to commuters are measures like introducing air-conditioned tramcars and starting mobile restaurants. A committee has, once again, been formed to prepare a plan to breathe life into this public transport system. It would, however, be better if steps were taken to increase the speed of trams. In this fast-paced world, there is no place for anything that is slow.

Shalini Bose


Parting shot

Sir — Earlier this month, police in Karnataka found the half-burnt body of a 23-year-old woman hanging from a tree. She was reportedly raped, forced to write a suicide note and then murdered. Neither the prime minister, nor Rahul Gandhi, nor the media have time for this issue. Should such incidents not receive as much importance as the December 2012 gang-rape case did? A strikingly similar incident took place in Bangladesh recently. This shows that the world in unsafe for women. If this is to change, the media will have to focus on such issues. Only then can the perpetrators be brought to book.

Arundhati Das


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