Defence Spokesperson official Twitter handle was mired in controversy today morning as it responded to a tweet by a retired Navy chief, Adm. Arun Prakash.
Adm. Arun Prakash was responding to a tweet where the Army Command’s insignia was seen on a civilian’s vehicle on Twitter. The person had tweeted wondering if such a thing is authorised. To that, Adm. Arun Prakash responded saying that even if misuse of such insignia is not a cognisable offence, the said person should be reprimanded.
The Ministry of Defence spokesperson’s official handle in response to Adm. Prakash’s harshly questioned the other ‘misuse’ like that of jawans in an officer’s residence, like the orderly (sahayak), where jawans are made to do menial tasks. The tweet also talked about the misuse of fauji cars for personal use like taking children to school as well as shopping trips by wives of army personnel.
While the Ministry of Defence spokesperson Twitter account soon deleted and apologised for the same.
The tweet was inadvertently done and the same is deeply regretted please.
— Defence Spokesperson (@SpokespersonMoD) October 26, 2018
Many Twitter users and retired armymen expressed their shock at the comment.
But is it allowed to be done under Official handle. It is dangerous to have such people to project us & our relationship with others.
— Lt Gen K J Singh (@kayjay34350) October 26, 2018
Is this inadvertent. It shows the true colours of your MoD Madam. You are meant to protect the military, not insult it. Keeping this spokesperson is an insult to India, its armed forces and their sacrifices. It shows no respect for senior veterans. Your spokesperson is a disaster
— Maj Gen Harsha Kakar (@kakar_harsha) October 26, 2018
However, Adm. Prakash suggested a sober reflection on the aspersions cast by a civil servant on the personal conduct of service offices.
Rather than getting excited over indiscreet tweet of @SpokespersonMoD I would suggest sober reflection; (a) by MoD on state of civil-mil relations & (b) by Military Leadership on the aspersions cast by MoD (IDAS?) civil-servant on personal conduct of Service officers. https://t.co/PwyMzzotK4
— Adm. Arun Prakash (@arunp2810) October 26, 2018
The Sahayak or orderly system in the armed forces, where jawans are used as man Fridays of officers, has been long debated.
Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh, who worked as a Sahayak, had alleged that he was forced to polish shoes. The Sahayak system was discontinued in the CRPF and the BSF through an order dated 6th March 2014 and demands have been raised to do away with the system in the Army too. In May this year, Army chief Bipin Rawat scrapped the sahayak system for retired generals.