Veterans write to Prez, express outrage over ‘politicization of armed forces’

Veterans write to Prez, express outrage over ‘politicization of armed forces’
Ram Nath Kovind
NEW DELHI, APR 12 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 4/12/2019 11:58:50 AM IST

Over 150 veterans, including eight former Service chiefs wrote a letter to the President and Supreme Commander of the Armed forces, Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to intervene against ‘politicisation’ of the military in the Lok Sabha elections.

However, Rashtrapati Bhawan sources said on Friday that they have not received any such letter. Also, some veterans mentioned in the letter said they have not endorsed it.

“We hereby respectfully urge you 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,” the 156 veterans said in the letter dated April 11.

Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak (retd.), whose name features in the list, told The Hindu: “The letter was sent by email and endorsement was also given over email.” He said he fully endorsed the contents of the letter. Some of the officers in the list seem to have developed cold feet. “I am surprised that Rashtrapati Bhawan is not aware of the letter,” he added.

The veterans referred to the “unusual and totally unacceptable practice” of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes and even being called “Modi ki sena” referring to recent comments by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

They stated that such ‘misuse’ of the armed forces “would impinge adversely on the morale and fighting efficiency of the serving man and woman in uniform.”

“We therefore appeal to you to ensure the secular and apolitical character of our armed forces is preserved,” they said.

Retired Major and a recipient of the Shaurya Chakra, P Chaudhary told Mirror Now that a core group of officers took sanction from various veterans by circulating the letter before making it public. “There is no doubt about the confirmation or endorsement of these over 150 veterans,” added (Retd) Major Chaudhary. In fact, the Major also said that he himself addressed the open letter to the Rashtrapati Bhavan at around 12.26 am on Thursday night. He added that the same letter has also been sent by post to the President of India.

Responding to media’s questions regarding the letter, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said that the alleged letter is being circulated without the consent of the signatories by a group with “vested interests”. 

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