A letter has been circulating on social media, allegedly written by Army Veterans to the President of India, where the signatories could be seen registering their protest against the ‘politicization of the Armed Forces’.
Veterans write to the Supreme Commmander of The Armed Forces complaining about the blatant politicisation.
— ପ୍ରିୟଦର୍ଶୀ/प्रियदर्शी/Priyadarshi (@MajChowdhury) April 11, 2019
The signatories of the letter refer to the “unusual and completely unacceptable practice of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes”. The signatories further urge the President 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.”
Interestingly, the person who initiated this ‘letter campaign’, Major Chowdhury, was only among the first people to spread a shameful lie in the past where a photoshopped image of Republic TV flashing the news that 21 Sikh Regiment has refused to fight for India was shared on social media. He had used the fake image with the dangerous lie to say that this is the consequence when Indian Armed Forces are politicised.
However, as it turns out, reports are coming in according to which the President has not received any such letter from Army Veterans.
Rashtrapati Bhavan Source denies receiving any letter supposedly written by armed forces veterans to the President which is circulating in the media. pic.twitter.com/rOWedMumsk
— ANI (@ANI) April 12, 2019
Moreover, signatories of the letter have started coming forward denying that they signed or supported any such letter. Air Marshall Suri has gone on record to say that he never supported any such letter and asserted that he would speak with the rest to verify whether they had actually supported the letter in its current form.
Air Marshall Suri says he never supported this letter. His name is mentioned as the 8th signatory in this letter to the Prez. He also says we should speak to all 150 veterans and check if they indeed support the letter in its current form. https://t.co/sZP6wVjHyl
— Marya Shakil (@maryashakil) April 12, 2019
Major Suri told ANI, “This is not Admiral Ramdas’ letter (purported letter written by armed forces veterans to President) & it has been done by some Major Chaudhary. He has written this & it was coming on WhatsApp and emails. To put an end to it, I wrote that armed forces are apolitical and support the politically elected government. And no, my consent has not been taken for any such letter. I don’t agree with whatever has been written in that letter. We have been misquoted”.
General SF Rodrigues, who features as the first signatory in the said letter, has also denied signing it. He went to the extent of calling the entire thing ‘Fake News’.
General SF Rodrigues who is mentioned as the first signatory in the purported letter (in pic- first page of the letter) written by armed forces veterans to President, denies signing it. pic.twitter.com/oidGb8ex0Z
— ANI (@ANI) April 12, 2019
Former Army Vice Chief Lt General ML Naidu (who is mentioned at 20th in the list of armed forces veterans who purportedly wrote the letter to President) says that his consent was also not taken for the letter and that he has not lent his name to any such letter about politicisation of the Armed forces.
Former Army Vice Chief Lt General ML Naidu( who is mentioned at 20th in the list of armed forces veterans who purportedly wrote letter to President): No, my consent has not been taken for any such letter and neither have I written any such letter. (file pic) pic.twitter.com/v8H35Hp2WN
— ANI (@ANI) April 12, 2019
In their hurry to attack the Modi government over the letter, it was shared by the Congress party through their official Twitter handle. The party said, “156 Veterans of the Indian Armed Forces including 8 former Chiefs of Staff write to the President of India urging him to act against Modi for trying to use soldiers for votes.”
Modi may try to use soldiers for votes, but it’s clear that soldiers stand with India and not the BJP.
156 Veterans of the Indian Armed Forces including 8 former Chiefs of Staff write to the President of India urging him to act against Modi for trying to use soldiers for votes. https://t.co/NHUVDH2BeY
— Congress (@INCIndia) April 12, 2019
The letter was also shared by various ‘neutral’ journalists as well.
This is SO Important. https://t.co/P7EDHMqidi
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) April 11, 2019
This should be reinforced a thousand times — that armed forces loyalty is to the nation and not some self-seeking power grabbers. https://t.co/UN4WNENN93
— M K Venu (@mkvenu1) April 12, 2019
Good of them to have spoken and taken a stand. https://t.co/cYUg5NH1vN
— Sumanth Raman (@sumanthraman) April 12, 2019
The Congress using an apparently ‘fake letter’ to attack Narendra Modi is more of the same as they have been using complete fiction and fake news to target the Modi government during the entire course of their campaign. But more importantly, it reveals the remarkable incompetence, combined with the utter lack of objectivity and just sprinkled with a certain sense of malice, on the part of ‘ neutral’ journalists and political commentators that they did not bother to verify the authenticity of the letter before going to town with it.
At least one signatory, Former Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, however, has confirmed that he did sign the letter and endorsed it.
Former Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta however confirms that he has signed the letter, endorses it.
— Manu Pubby (@manupubby) April 12, 2019
Under such circumstances, it appears that the letter includes at least some names which should not have been there. At least some names were included without the consent of the individuals and their knowledge. Therefore, it does appear that the letter was concocted by a few politically motivated Veterans in the list who dragged the names of others without their consent.
Update: Major (Retired) Priyadarshi Chowdhury, who led the initiative to send this letter, has now contradicted claims of Gen Rodrigues & ACM Suri that didn’t sign the letter and they do not endorse the content of the letter. He posted a tweet saying that he has proof of their endorsements. But didn’t say anything about Lt General ML Naidu, who also denied signing the letter.
Gen Rodrigues & ACM Suri denying that they endorsed the letter to The President.
Suffice to say, we have proof of their endorsements.
A question to the media. Not long back many of you participated in a fake Nationalism narrative spread by @BJP4India & …
— ପ୍ରିୟଦର୍ଶୀ/प्रियदर्शी/Priyadarshi (@MajChowdhury) April 12, 2019
Maj. Chowdhury also contradicted the news saying that Rashtrapati Bhavan has denied receiving the letter. He posted a screenshot of an email, which was apparently sent to the president of India containing the letter. The screenshot shows that the email was sent to the email IDs of the president and other officials in the Rashtrapati Bhavan Secretariate.