Editorial

Leave them alone

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/13/2019 12:07:31 PM IST

 On April 12, Army veterans, including eight former chiefs, four former navy chiefs and a former air force chief, wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind to stop political parties from politicising the armed forces for elections. Some of those whose names were mentioned, retracted but nevertheless the issue is of serious concern. As serving officers are not authorised to air their views, veterans have come forward to speak up on the issue by stressing that covert operations should always be kept secret and not be talked about to win political battles. The 150-odd veterans of the Indian Army had urged upon the President and Commander-in-Chief, to register their objection against the manner in which political parties have been repeatedly misusing the armed forces for political gains during the ongoing campaign ahead of the Lok Sabha election. The veterans said misusing the name of the armed forces would impinge adversely on the morale and fighting efficiency of the serving man or woman in uniform and also could therefore directly affect national security and national integrity. What proved to be the proverbial last straw was the campaign speech by UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who referred to the Indian Army as “Modi Ji Ki Sena” (Modiji’s Army). This was another regretful instance of how the armed forces is being misused for election. It may also be recalled that media pictures of election platforms and campaigns show party workers wearing military uniforms; and posters and images with pictures of soldiers and especially of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, displayed. The Indian Army, Air Force and Navy- are absolutely secular and apolitical. Even if the military implemented policy decisions, yet the officers and men and women strictly adhere to the code of conduct. Therefore, when political parties compete with each other to prove their ‘patriotism’ by using the names or photos of the armed forces, it is the greatest disservice done to the uniformed personnel. Army veterans had also not approved the decision of the government to celebrate the second anniversary of the ‘surgical strike’ in 2018. Special forces of the Army carried out “surgical strikes” on September 29, 2016, on seven terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), killing several terrorists. Several serving and retired uniformed persons have expressed dissatisfaction over the three-day nationwide celebration, named ‘Parakram Parv’, as it was seen as being only aimed at gaining political mileage. The Military had also expressed surprise with the government’s decision because there were no celebrations in 2017 to mark the first anniversary of the cross-border strike. Said Maj.Gen(Retd) Satbir Singh “We do not want the government to use surgical strikes for deriving political advantage. The government should not look at us as just a vote bank.” It is also a matter of concern that the armed forces has become a hunting ground for political parties. This will only result in the rank and file of the armed forces being infected by the political virus. If that happens then the vow to ‘Hinduise’ the military would be achieved and which will certainly expose the nation’s internal security to great danger. The military is composed of valiant men and women from various caste and religious backgrounds one in their resolve. Politicisation destroy this national unity.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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