On the occasion of Army Day, General Bipin Rawat expressed his anguish at the use of Social Media to target the Indian Army. In an event in Delhi, he remarked that Social Media was being used against the Indian Army and urged the citizens of the country to be careful in its use.
— ANI (@ANI) January 15, 2018
The comments of the Army come only a few days after a media portal The Quint published a report that vindicated the Pakistani narrative about Kulbhushan Jadhav. Eventually, the Pakistani Media and official Pakistani handles had started quoting The Quint’s article to justify its treatment of Kulbhushan Jadhav.
At 1700 hrs on 5th January Indian publication @TheQuint published a story by Mr Changan Nandy who said that two ex-RAW Chiefs confided in him that it was “absurd” on the part of current RAW setup to recruit Kulbhushan Jadav for intelligence deep inside Pakistan
— PTV World (@WorldPTV) January 6, 2018
Indian paper ‘The Quint’ had in one of its stories accepted the truth that Kulbhushan Jadhav was a spy and that some RAW officials had reservations about his appointment.
~Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Muhammad Faisal pic.twitter.com/EBPqLwGwvP
— Govt of Pakistan (@pid_gov) January 6, 2018
Portals like The Quint are a major force to reckon with on the social media, and thus Army Chief’s comments could be seen in this context. Tragically, Pakistan does not need to do something special as many Indian portals and individuals are making their job easier.
While the report on Kulbhushan Yadav was not directly related to the Army, The Quint has earlier rubbed the Indian Army the wrong way. Not too long ago, one ‘sting operation’ by the portal led to one Jawan, Lance Naik Roy Mathew, committing suicide after the video of the sting went viral on Social Media. But thus far, they have managed to avoid any repercussions for their less than praiseworthy ‘Journalism’.
Apart from The Quint, another portal that is a major force on social media, The Wire stooped to a new low and thought they were providing some great insight when they decided to compare Army Chief General Bipin Rawat with General Dyer.
Another news portal, Firstpost, had too published an article that maligned the Indian Army by twisting facts around the Bangladesh liberation war. The author of the article had put his anti-Army comments on Twitter too.
Not just such websites provide fodder for anti-army sentiments on the social media, many individuals spewing venom against the Army, and especially the Army Chief, has become sort of a norm. Arvind Kejriwal’s close associate and Gurmehar Kaur’s mentor, Ram Subramaniam, recently started a Twitter storm with his deplorable remarks on the Army.
What great army? the one that lost so many wars? the one that does corruption in the food of soldiers? the one that has to buy weapons from other countries instead of innovating its own? https://t.co/4BLdlQc3a7
— Ram Subramanian (@VORdotcom) January 11, 2018
Kejriwal himself had demanded proof of surgical strikes, which was opposed in his own party as something that will hurt the confidence and morale of the Indian Army.
Apart from Kejriwal, politicians like Kavita Krishnan, who is secretary and Polit-Bureau member of CPI(ML), had dubbed the killing of Burhan Wani by our security forces as ‘extra judicial killing’:
Shame on the extra judicial killing of Burhan Wani, and the killing of 8 protesters/mourners in his funeral. https://t.co/zy9muUP1vM
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) July 10, 2016
The Communist leaders have been particularly relentless in their attacks against the current Army Chief. In an editorial published in Peoples Democracy, the weekly newspaper of the CPI(M), the author accused General Bipin Rawat of damaging the Army’s reputation by defending Major Gogoi’s actions.
Although communists have not been wining any major elections, they do affect the discourse on social media, with help from a sympathetic mainstream media. JNU students like Kanhaiya Kumar, who accuse the Indian Army of rapes, have often been posting comments on social media.
Retired Army Man Lt General H S Panag too had tweeted a misleading photo to score a political point over “nationalist forces.”
In wake of such incidents, it is only natural then that the Army Chief on Army Day has appealed to the citizens to express some caution while using Social Media.