Wednesday, June 9, 2010

J&K's mercenaries in uniform

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Dear Brigadier Kamboj,
You must have read the report in today's HT about soldiers getting money to kill terrorists. I think this needs to be taken up by the Army, as it sullies our image. I have already written a letter to the Editor, a copy of which I have endorsed to you. As I have pointed out, this practice is prevalent in the Police. I hope it has not started in the Army. Cases on my RTI application are being heard in the CIC. I only hope the news report has not been planted by some one to divert attention from the issue.
If needed, we can file a complaint with the Press Council, for false reporting. Recently, the Editor of the HIndu has expressed regret for a case of false reporting by Praveen Swami in 2001, about the GOM Report on National Security being tabled in Parliament.
Maj Gen VK Singh

LETTER TO THE EDITOR HT- mercenaries in uniform
Dear Sir,
This is with reference to the news report by Arun Joshi in today's paper, which contends that soldiers IN J&K get money for killing terrorists. Frankly, I was shocked. Throughout my 37 years in uniform, I have not heard of any such thing.
The practice of giving cash awards and out of turn promotions is prevalent in the Police. However, there is no provision for giving cash awards or out of turn promotions to armed forces personnel. In response to an RTI application, I find that during the period 2000 to 2008, the Special Cell of Delhi Police had 25 encounters in which 66 persons were awarded the Police Medal for gallantry. Three were also 34 instances in which 74 persons were given out of turn promotions. In all cases the wording is almost the same - the terrorists fired on the police party; the latter fired back in self defence in which the criminals were neutralised. In none of the cases was a policeman man killed or injured. The information about cash rewards has not been provided so far on the grounds that it will endanger the lives of the policemen involved.
Can you kindly check on the veracity of the news report by Arun Joshi?
Maj Gen VK Singh (Retd)

Dear Veterans
Letter to Editor titled Don’t Denigrate the Armed Forces” is as given below.
With Kind Regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

Dear Editor in Chief,
1. Aprop article “Uniform Decline” in HT dated 07 June 10 and another article “dubious reward J & K’s mercenaries in uniform” dated 07 June 2010.
2. While not questioning the freedom of the media, aforesaid two articles in your esteemed News paper are not only derogatory to the armed forces but are based on untruths and lack total credibility. This tantamounts to denigrating the armed forces, which over the years, time and again, have proved to the nation their patriotism, valour and steadfastness in all adverse conditions and calamities both internal and external -this inspite of such articles in the media and indifferent and unsympathetic approach of the Govt towards the Defence Forces.
3. In one of the above articles, resume of purported disciplinary cases has been given. I wish to remind you that as per norms of natural justice everyone is believed to be innocent till proven guilty. Defence Forces are known to strictly and ruthlessly punish persons held guilty by various courts of inquiries. In all the cases brought out by you, none of the individuals mentioned, have yet been proved guilty.
4. As for as the other article where in the armed forces have been referred to as “mercenaries in uniform”, it reflects poorly on the mind set of the author and his scant regard to the ethos of the Defence Forces. This article is not only defamatory but shows lack of knowledge on the functioning of the Defence Forces. I sincerely wish your esteemed paper concentrates on the corruption cases pertaining to bureaucrats and politicians who are blatantly bleeding the nation. In contrast the Defence Forces have contributed to a large extent in maintaining the integrity of the country.
5. I implore upon you not to further denigrate the Armed Forces any further, for, whipping a running horse will provoke the horse to either slacken or give a kick which either way would be disastrous for the country.

The author is a Former Senior Fellow and Security Analyst of Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), has been examiner PhD thesis in Defence & Security Studies, Ex Commandant Services Selection Centre & President SSB, besides being Instructor at four premier institutions of the Army. Presently he is a Vice Chairman of Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM)

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