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An open letter to General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army
I reached my farm……………Lakhimpur Kheri, UP ……Friday afternoon, after spending a very pleasant evening with Bubbles and Rani Sahiba Sushma Kumari at their palatial residence, at Muradabad.

I happened to put on the news that night ……the TV was already programmed on NDTV news on the screen that a senior Army officer, perhaps the corps Commander or the Brigade Commander, an extremely smart Sikh officer …..I could not make out his rank …….speaking to a bevy of women. I was horrified to hear what he was saying, words to the effect ........ 'the Officer concerned took the decision on the spot, in a very difficult situation with the intent to save his very small contingent of troops and also to avoid having to fire and kill some of the massed stone pelters, who surrounded them. He, therefore, took the grave decision to tie one of the stone pelters that he had managed to get hold of, in front of his jeep and drove through the crowd in the hope that they would not be attacked without seriously injuring the young man tied to the jeep ……their security shield. He was successful in his attempt to save his troops, as well as to not have to fire and perhaps kill some of the stone pelters that surrounded them. However, whatever he did even though it was in the heat of the moment when no other option seeming possible, he committed an illegal act and violated human rights. He has been taken off active duty and an enquiry has been initiated'. The aforesaid was the gist of what the General (I presume that he was such) has said, much to the appreciation of the NDTV presenter and news room.

I was horrified, and I am still horrified that a senior officer of the Indian Army is apologising for the action taken by a young, no- nonsense forthright officer, in extreme circumstances and by doing so save the lives of his small contingent of troops and also avoid having to shoot many of the stone pelters who surrounded them. In my opinion, this young officer should be highly commended for taking an extreme decision in an extreme situation. The Indian Army should be proud of such an officer, rather than he be held responsible for violation of human rights.

If this is the attitude of the Indian Army, that killing militants, terrorists, mujahideen etc etc is a greater human rights violation, then, the jawans and the officers should pack-up their bags and go home.

I had thought that the primary duty of any officer, most importantly of the commanding officer was to look after his troops, paltan, brigade and so forth; in battle and during peace-time, their very lives and welfare. This officer, the one in question who has been taken off active duty to face an enquiry for having saved the lives of his small paltan, is in the dock for doing precisely what he has been taught to do, his first and foremost primary duty. Alas, is this what the Indian Army has come to?

The chief of Army Staff, General Rawat may kindly look into this very serious lapse committed by a very senior ranking officer of the Indian Army. The morale of the jawans and their officers is bound to have been shot down. Which officer will put his neck out for the sake of his men, leave alone for the sake of his country? Human rights violations occur in war and such a situation exists in the Kashmir Valley today and killing is at the top of the list. Therefore, is the new motto of the Indian Army that "our men may die and officers shot to pieces, but we shall not kill, only turn the other cheek"?

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