The Hush Post|5:06 pm| one-minute-read|
Army chief Bipin Rawat today criticised violence during protests over the citizenship law. He said “leaders are not those who lead masses in arson and violence”. Within minutes he was called out for taking sides. This, while he still occupied an office that must be neutral and apolitical.
Major General S Vombatkere, ex-additional DG, Army Headquarters, has said, what the army chief has done is inappropriate. Also, according to the Army Rules 1954, an Army officer cannot speak about a political issue while he is in service.
Many say that since Gen Rawat is about to relinquish office on December 31, can the remark in any way be linked to his becoming the Chief of the Defence Staff? Also many are questioning why has he chosen to speak about a politico-civil issue of unrest in which Army has no business to intervene.
Reports suggest that Northern Army Commander Ranbir Singh is also in the race. So far, the government has kept up the suspense.
Admiral L Ramdas also said that no army general can speak about political issues. Least of all in a scenario where students were beaten in a library and where there is no evidence that “who was leading whom in the protest.”
At least 20 people have died, mostly in Uttar Pradesh, in clashes between protesters and the police.
Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane is set to be next army chief
The Army Chief’s comments were criticized as too political for an army chief by opposition parties like the Congress.
“Army Chief Bipin Rawat speaking against #CAAProtests is wholly against constitutional democracy. If Army Chief is allowed to speak on Political issues today, it also permits him to attempt an Army takeover tomorrow!!” – tweeted Brijesh Kalappa, a spokesperson of the Congress.
“Leadership is knowing the limits of one’s office. It is about understanding the idea of civilian supremacy. Also, it is about preserving the integrity of the institution that you head,” tweeted Asaduddin Owaisi, Hyderabad MP and chief of the AIMIM.
Some who came out in General Rawat’s support said he was within his rights to speak as a citizen.
Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane is all set to become the next army chief.