General VK Singh reportedly has decided to file an application with the Right to Information (RTI) commission seeking a copy of General Vinod Bhatia’s secret report on the alleged misuse of the top secret Technical Support Division (TSD) during his tenure as Army Chief. Will the government respond by releasing the secret report? After news of the report appeared in the media the government stated that the report “impinges on matters of national security and, as such, the government will take a decision and further actions after careful examination.” If the contents of the report impinge on national security it is difficult to see how the government can agree to release the report.
However, then a further question is raised.
If the report will not be released to the public how was it allowed to be leaked to the media? After the media exposure the government did not deny the report or displayed reticence but went out of its way to acknowledge its contents and resolved to probe the affair. One spokesperson of the Congress party blithely informed TV that since the media had obtained the report the matter had to be fully probed. But the government has not addressed the obvious question of how the media obtained the report. From all accounts it has not ordered an inquiry into who leaked the report and taken steps to punish the guilty. The circumstantial evidence of the government itself leaking the report is compelling. In the pursuit of petty partisan politics was the government oblivious of the grave implications that might flow from the leakage?
That is not all. Politicians further endangered the situation. BJP President Mr. Rajnath Singh defended General VK Singh and charged the UPA government with targeting him because he shared a platform with Mr. Narendra Modi. The Punjab Congress was quick to retaliate. Captain Amarinder Singh reiterated the allegation in the report that General VK Singh had misused TSD to attempt scuttling the appointment of the current Army Chief General Bikram Singh. He challenged Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Prakash Singh Badal to clarify his stand since he was supporting the BJP and Mr. Narendra Modi.
Have India’s politicians gone stark raving mad? In the pursuit of their stupid and petty rivalries they are creating a situation that could encourage polarization between Hindu and Sikh, between Haryana and Punjab. Whatever the truth of real or imagined differences between army generals, these might be based upon entirely professional grounds. But in public perception the differences could most likely be seen as between communities and states. If such perception is allowed to grow, how will it affect all the ranks in the army?
The TSD unit was conceived and created after the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai. The purpose of this top secret unit was to counter terrorism. Now not only the existence of this top secret unit is blown, but efforts are actually being made to reveal its operations and functioning in order to settle political scores. The most far reaching consequences of this sorry episode might well be General VK Singh rebuttal of the allegations against him publicized by the government. In an interview to Times Now TV channel he furnished damaging details of how the army has been operating in Jammu and Kashmir for the past many decades. His revelations make mockery of India’s official stand on Kashmir. One can imagine how gleefully members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in China and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in Pakistan would be with rapt attention watching the unfolding exposure of the functioning of India’s top secret army unit established to counter terrorism.