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Modi Insults Indian Army
by Dr. Rajinder Puri Bookmark and Share

Addressing an election rally in Kashmir Prime Minister (PM) Mr. Narendra Modi claimed credit for the army apologizing for the incident in which two Kashmiri youths were killed. He told the audience: “This is the wonder of Modi sarkar The Army has registered a case against their own men. This is the proof of my good intentions before you.” Even if the Army acted against the errant soldiers on the PM’s bidding it was unecessary for Mr. Modi to say this. But the circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the Army acted on its own. After public protests over the killing of the youths and media exposure the Army had swung into action.

On December 3 an Army spokesman said: “Let me say this very clearly that we take responsibility for what has happened at Chattergam in Budgam district.” General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command, Lt General D S Hooda said:

“Legal action will be taken if we find out that rules of engagement have been violated. We will complete the inquiry within 10 days. The court of inquiry has found gross violation of rules of engagement by the soldiers. They have been indicted. There has been a total failure of the command by the officer in-charge of the Army column. The file has been sent for final approval to GOC-in-Chief northern Command. Hopefully we will get the approval by next week.”

Nine people eventually were indicted in the killing of two youth. The official said those guilty will likely face life imprisonment.

The PM’s offensive remark in his election rally seemed to imply that the Army was a habitual offender and it was his government that forced it to act. He seemed to imply that on its own the Army never acted. His tone echoed the allegations of Kashmiri separatists. In the search of votes how low can politicians sink? In the difficult and stressful conditions facing soldiers in Kashmir it should not surprise if they sometimes misjudge a situation and prove trigger happy. Politicians instead of appreciating this make cheap statements to please the gallery. While soldiers are killed by cross border terror politicians think nothing of continuing with normal cultural and sporting engagements with Pakistan.

India is fortunate that it has an exceptionally well disciplined Army. In any other army placed in similar circumstances officers might have resigned in protest over the PM’s remarks. Any other army would have advised the government not to use the army in civilian territory but deploy the CRPF, BSF and other police agencies created for that task. In any other army the local commander would have used his legal option to declare Martial Law and suspend all civil liberties to restore order. The army is not supposed to perform the task of the police. The PM should know that. People will not forget the PM’s remarks. They will eventually pay back with interest to the BJP for the insult administered to the army. It is a matter of time.

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Comments on this Article

Comment It is the duty and responsibility of politicians and the police fail to solve internal political and law and order problems. Armed Forces are meant and designed to to deal with external threats to the Nation,where enemy is clearly defined. They are trained to use maximum force at their command. Deploying armed forces in police roll is not at all desirable. It is never done in democratic countries. They are neither trained nor equipped to carry out such tasks. Further, their long term deployment in such police roles, adversely affects their combat efficiency, and discipline. It also leads to erosion of will and commitment of police to carry out their duties. Why can para military and police not be trained and equipped to deal with problems of law and order.
2. In exceptional circumstances, where the civil administration and the police cannot do their duties, a well defined area should be handed over to the Armed Forces. All civil administration and police should be placed under their command till the matter is sorted out. Such action should be exceptional, and a matter of routine, as has been the case, with India, ever since independence. Armed
Forces should never used against own people solve internal political or law and order problems.

01/08/2015 09:08 AM

Comment Dear Dr. Rajendra Puri,
You may be correct in your sentiments that Indian Army was wrongly coated by the PM in his Srinagar public speech.It may be a matter of debate that army personnels were wrong or right in their decision to fire and cause casuality to innocent or so called innocent youths. Army has its own mechanism to deal with duties and justice.What I object to your article is that you are once again trying to politicalise the matter and bring army in the discussion and debate of public domain , not only this you are provoking the army personnels to rise to their sentiments. This is not a correct way to suggest the army. We are proud of our army for their supreme sacrifice.Even if the personnels held guilty for the unintensional firing, we the common people believe that those personnels have given sacrifice to hold the high decipline and dignity of our armed forces.

Dr. Arvind Kumar Nag
01/03/2015 08:41 AM

Comment Three comments are already out here, all in agreeing with the views expressed in the article.

But, I dare to say something else....

I too agree on principle with the article and the comments made so far. I agree that the armed forces must be treated in apolitical manner.

Over last few years, especially after UPA-1, the situation in J&K has worsened - not quoting incidents of terrorist attacks, terrorists killed, army-men killed or civilians killed. But looking at the reactions in media that quote opinion of experts, that reports reactions from public and so on. One can sense of emotional disturbance in the region... And it will be fueled further by NC or PDP or even Congress govt if they resume power in state. People have become very sensitive in the region. With such a sensitivity, even good measures can backfire just because they will not be understood correctly.
Why should there be anger in public if those youths did not stop motorcycle despite army Jawans stopping them ? That probably indicate ‘emotional disturbance’. In such a state of ‘emotional disturbance’, one will hear only if he is told what he wants to hear. I guess this is what was done, with right intentions and end goal in mind.

If anyone wants to cure this, first he/she needs to assume power to be able to do something.
I believe a change in govt in JK is much more needed than anything else at the moment.

And if intentions are not good, then I join voices of the author and the fellow commentators.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
12/14/2014 11:54 AM

Comment Respected Mr Puri,
Lot of debating has already been done openly in the Army circles and those two senior officers have been suitably hooted.

There is no doubt that soldiers did a perfect job of firing and shooting down those Motor Cycle borne youths for not stopping at three successive check posts. A job well done.

Army has always held Apolitical Identity.

We are ashamed of our senior Officers for their political overture and the tutored reaction in favor of a Political Party in the elections.

It is a pity for the most efficient Army of the world to be treated thus and humiliation by successive Governments.

Don't you forget the humiliation of Army started with the Congress Regimes.

Jaspartap Bath

jaspartap Bath
12/12/2014 17:59 PM

Comment It is wrong to take credit by him.I agree with the content of article.By the way what about his promise of OROP?

Bhanu pratap singh
12/12/2014 06:29 AM

Comment Dear Rajinder Puri,

I fully agree with the feelings expressed. This public admonishment of the Army by the PM was uncalled for and a very cheap gimmick for garnering votes. I have lots of regards for Modi but this one was definitely 'below the belt' and not expected of a mature politician of his stature.

This is the difference between the civil and military. The politician are accustomed to other organizations' 'covering up' of their dirty backyards and unlawfully protecting their roosts. But they do not understand that the Armed Forces ethos are not those. And rightly too because if indiscipline was protected or ignored then how shall the armed forces remain battle-efficient. The admiration showered upon the armed forces at critical hours for personal sacrifices made at times of war was oblivious of the fact that it could not have come about without iron-jacketed discipline.

Thanks a lot for highlighting this. I do hope it gets the due publicity and reaches the politicians who seem to be entirely uninitiated into the art and science of maintaining efficient and battle-worthy armed forces.

Randhir Phagura

Maj Gen R. S. Phagura
12/11/2014 22:56 PM

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