Homeland Security

A Nation Shamed - and the mafia marches on
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 17 Aug , 2015

Early last year, the former COAS, Gen VK Singh (now MoS in the Modi government) went to lay a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate accompanied by 7-8 veteran General Officers – all wearing their regimental side caps and some even their medals. Army Headquarters, or shall we say the misnomer Integrated HQ of MoD (Army) had been informed in advance and so a serving Colonel from Ceremonials and Welfare Directorate of Army HQ was present at the site. But as the veterans came forward to lay the wreath, a company of baton wielding police accompanied with water cannon fitted vehicles charged forward.

This is not the first time that veterans have protested for OROP at Jantar Mantar. On earlier occasion, veterans even returned their medals and gallantry awards to the President, with letters written in their blood.

A police officer curtly told Gen VK Singh that the wreath cannot be laid because the inner sanctum of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is with MHA whose permission had not been obtained. As this conversation was on, the water cannons opened up, much to the amazement of people visiting India Gate including a host of foreigners who even asked what on earth was happening.

Needless to mention that the MHA permission bit came as a surprise. Logically, if a former Chief informs his Service HQ that he wants to lay a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, Army HQ should have made all arrangements including required permission from MHA. But then Gen VK Singh was later to join BJP and he as COAS had been succeeded by the ‘chosen one’, so it was but expected. Same evening during a debate on NDTV, I was asked if I was scared by the police charge, since I was present at India Gate in the morning?

My response was that it was amusing (not scary) to note here was a Home Minister ordering water cannons on veteran officers while he was scared stiff when the Chinese made a 19 km deep intrusion at Raki Nala in Depsang area of Ladakh, held by ITBP directly under his command, and even croaked a scary scandalous statement in Parliament “we have no jurisdiction in the area”.

The media now reveals this same now former Home Minister, Sushil Shinde, not only enjoys the same security cover as Home Minister but security cover has also been extended to his wife, three daughters and even the grandchildren. How many more politicians like him are enjoying such illegal perks on public money is anyone’s guess. But then isn’t this another form of corruption and shouldn’t corruption be part and parcel of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan?

…something totally unexpected under the present government happened at Jantar Mantar on August 14, when Delhi Police and CRPF charged the peacefully protesting veterans in a bid to evict them from the venue.

Now take the nautanki at Jantar Mantar in the days preceding August 15. The likes of Rahul Gandhi, Kejriwal and Co merely wanted to make political mileage of the situation as they had not even squeaked a word against the above mentioned incident at India Gate last year. Besides, Rahul’s party has been largely responsible for lowering the prestige, pay and allowances of the military over the decades, even to the point of ridiculing war widows, war disabled and veterans. This is not the first time that veterans have protested for OROP at Jantar Mantar.

On earlier occasion, veterans even returned their medals and gallantry awards to the President, with letters written in their blood. That the President, as Supreme Commander, never even met their representatives too is well known. Referring to the recent letter titled ‘Open Letter to Rashtrapati: A WARNING TO THE NATION’ by four former Service Chiefs to the President recently concerning OROP, Devasahayam MG, former Secretary GoI and former army officer writes, “Sorry to sound cynical. Wonder whether you know what the former Supreme Commander did when nearly 1500 veterans who included Lt. Generals, Vice Admirals, Air Marshals and ORs and some civilians including the humble undersigned signed a very well articulated representation against the fraud played on General VK Singh in the name of ‘disputed’ DoB and a delegation comprising of couple of top-ranking veterans and one civilian sought appointment to submit the representation to her. President’s office gave appointment thrice and at the last moment this ‘lady’ got it cancelled.

On one occasion the delegation had got into the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt when they received a call that appointment was cancelled. We found out later that this act of cowardice was due to the greed of this lady to get tenure as President and she did not want to annoy the powers-that-be in any manner. Some Supreme Commander this!”

…many theories are now circulating like: Modi is not in full control; there are two power centres within the BJP; the power centre controlling the inflow of foreign funds is the more powerful one with its mafia links…

But then something totally unexpected under the present government happened at Jantar Mantar on August 14, when Delhi Police and CRPF charged the peacefully protesting veterans in a bid to evict them from the venue. The media had a field day covering the most unfortunate scuffle, shown live on many media channels. The veterans asked if they were a security threat and desperately tried to contact Bassi, the Delhi Police Commissioner who conveniently refused to take any calls.

The following photograph of an old veteran with his medals (that ostensibly are awarded by the President, the Supreme Commander) torn off his shirt has been going viral, some even demanding that people responsible should touch his feet and apologize but then who is bothered in the hierarchy about such incident which would shame any other nation. There have been angry remarks that the Delhi Police and CRPF are responsible but then tell me if they were not acting on the orders of the Home Minister, with approval of the Prime Minister.

Here the issue is not propriety or impropriety of protesting at Jantar Mantar against non-implementation of OROP but why police forces were launched against peacefully protesting veterans. The bottom-line is that by doing so the stature of the PM and the HM has certainly reduced by this action unless they can come up with a plausible explanation. More significantly, it is little known that had MoS General  V K Singh who intervened on August 14 against Police action at Jantar Mantar and got the veterans’ agitation restored, with his personal staff running around and securing the permissions for veterans to continue their agitation gracefully, the damage would have been much more, as intended by the mafia.

Modi’s August 15 announcement of the issue being under discussion and Parrikar’s repetitions of ‘being committed’ and ‘coming soon’ cuts little ice in the backdrop of the governments publicity that here is a Prime Minister who personally demands a progress report from all the MoS every 100 days. How come then he cannot resolve the ‘jatil samasya’ of a mere some Rs 8,330 crores OROP after 15 months in office when the government surrendered Rs 6000 crores from last year’s defence budget, another Rs 1000 crores allotted for the National War Memorial lapsed, claimed during the 2013 ESM rally at Rewari that OROP would have been implemented in 2004 if BJP was in power, and the BJP President committing to representatives of the ESM that OROP would be announced within 10 days.

It can now be said ‘Na Cheen ne na Pakistan ne, apne fauj ko barbad kiya Hindustan ne’. A dissatisfied military is not in the interest of any nation least of all India…

So it is but natural that many theories are now circulating like: Modi is not in full control; there are two power centres within the BJP; the power centre controlling the inflow of foreign funds is the more powerful one with its mafia links, and; the because of fiscal needs of future elections perforce Modi has to toe the line.

Notwithstanding the above, it is an established fact that while governments come and governments go, the mafia that orchestrates this country on behest of foreign powers have ensured that the defence of India remains largely defunct; keeping the military away from strategic policy formulation, higher defence organizations remaining outdated sans military advice, keeping the military underequipped, divided and under misdirected civilian rule of bureaucracy, not the political hierarchy as it should be. The much needed administrative reforms don’t appear to be part of the government’s agenda anyway. Make in India, which is yet to take off in the defence sector anyway is not the be all and end all of defending India, much that the unaccountable MoD bureaucracy may want the political hierarchy to believe.

When PM Modi asked the public suggestions for his Independence Day speech, I suggested he declares his intention of reorganizing the higher defence set up of the country including the MoD and ordering a comprehensive defence review. Unfortunately, the Defence Minister too has made no move whatsoever in this direction. The mafia obviously is too strong for the hierarchy to understand that belittling the veterans in turn amounts to belittling the military. Lt Gen NS Brar, former Deputy Chief Integrated Defence Staff and Member Armed Forces Tribunal writes, “Our polity by design and default has proceeded to politicize, downgrade and demoralize its own armed forces and veterans.

As Bahadur Shah Zafar wrote after 1857 ;’Na Shah Iran ne na Czar Roos ne, Angres ko bardad kiya kartoos ne’. It can now be said ‘Na Cheen ne na Pakistan ne, apne fauj ko barbad kiya Hindustan ne’. A dissatisfied military is not in the interest of any nation least of all India which has to contend with multifarious internal and external security issues. The nation at large and the political leadership must be alive to the prevailing sentiments and act appropriately lest the gates of military stations are opened”.

The Prime Minister needs to take a call if he wants to continue in the same wake as the last government in matters of defence including installing a puppet permanent chairman COSC or move beyond ‘Make in India’ and make a difference.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

is a former Lt Gen Special Forces, Indian Army

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29 thoughts on “A Nation Shamed – and the mafia marches on

  1. Sir you hit the nail on the head, however this malaise has no remedy. As long as the IAS Babus rule the roost the Army will remain brow beaten, and our Generals will not be able to do a fig about it. This Nehruvian vrius will continue to afflict us. To lower the morale of the Armed Forces is an act of treason – but when treason occupies the seat of the nation – Quo Vadis !!??

  2. The article gives an accurate description of the things as they stand. The polity either believes that the world has moved beyond wars and a show of a standing army is all it will take or more likely they couldn’t careless. I also had expectations of Mr Modi but even if he gives OROP or doesn’t clearly he is a prisoner of his own devices and clearly the mafia that is referred to in this article has a serious hold on him or right now too powerful for him to take them on. that is of course assuming he wants to take them on.
    there is no gain saying that this country is held togather by the sacrifices made by the armed forces of this country. If they are in this condition as they are you can safely assume where this country is headed.

  3. One trusts millions of countrymen and women outside the great family of the Armed Forces will read and comprehend what has been beautifully expressed by General Prakash Katoch .
    The thoughts behind the factual contents speak for everyone who bore arms for the Nation willingly with the greatest pride and courage for its honour and welfare , and for their loved ones who keep inspjring them , constantly and come what may ; their lives at stake , and the complete trust that their loved ones will be looked after by the billion in the great land keep them steadfast in their duties and tasks blindly to the rulers the Nation chooses .
    Woe to them , one may exhort , who dare sully that great spirit vibrating in the life blood of the dedicated ; and to their own peril , one may add , in such thoughtless indiscretions . Heady power misused leads to heavy downfall .

    One prays , may the heavens wake up the Nation to demand of the rulers it chooses , to honour their oaths and privilege to serve it ; may it be relentles in harping on them to respond to the faith of a billion ; failing which , they will declare , go on your own or we will throw you out as we have done to the others only a year ago .

  4. It is more then evident that the PM is not able to assert his authority as was visible on Independence day speech Some body is controlling him through a remote control device and he is always running out under one pretext or the other in the name of??? and avoids decisions on important issues at home

  5. THE TRAGEDY OF THR INDIAN MILITARY

    The fate of Indian Military was sealed in 1947 itself when Nehruvian Defence thinking became the corner stone of our Military Strategy. The new Polity was very suspicious of Defence Forces and were determined to downsize them, not realizing that a weak country is an easy prey to both internal machinations as well as external threats. The results of this incoherent policy were first visible in 1961 in the form of Chinese invasion. 1965 and 1971 wars fell in quick succession. Though the Forces acquitted themselves with admirable grit in spite of all the handicaps, no lessons were learnt to put in place a well oiled and coherent Defence structure. By this time all the tall political leaders associated with the freedom struggle were dead and Political system was wide open to a new breed of politicians whose only aim was to somehow get to the seat of political power in states as well in the center. With the rise of this political structure, there also rose a new breed of Civil servants whose only aim was to promote themselves by all means by staying close to the seats of Political power. They saw Military as the sole challenger to their ambitions and were determined to put them down by any means , fair or foul. The political leadership which steered the MOD were by and large inefficient, inept and ignorant of the issues involved and left the decision making to the Bureaucrats, who have now defacto become the masters and don’t want to give up their advantage. OROP is nothing more than an acute manifestation of mismatch between the politicians, the bureaucracy and the military. The veterans are now fighting this war to restore this balance on behalf of the military and ferocity of the struggle is so overwhelming as to frighten everyone. The silver lining is that the public sympathy is with the Forces. Let’s see who gets an upper hand in this struggle, but the fight for OROP is not going to be easy .
    http://www.indianveterans.in

  6. Look at the travesty people who tried to usurp houses for Kargil widows and awarded themselves for sacrifice of young officers in Kargil have become leaders and are petitioning to the president. These fellows should be flogged in Jantar Mantar.

  7. WHAT PAK ARMY ISI , CHINESE INTELLIGENCE , HOSTILE NATIONS TOWARDS INDIA WERE TRYING TO DO , THE INDIAN DHOTIWALLAS , PRODDED BY BABUS AND CROOKED BUSINESSCOMBINE HAVE SUCCESSFULLY DONE TO THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES . THE IZZAT IQBAL , PRIDE , ELAN WITH WHICH ASOLDER SAILOR AIRMEN WALKED WERE BENT AND THE SPINE BROKEN WITH TOOTHLESS SENIOR UNIFORMED RANKS WATCHING AGHAST AND HELPLESSLY AS OLD INFIRM , INJURED EXSERVICEMEN WERE MAULED PUSHED , BEATEN BY POLICE AND NDMC GOONS

  8. I was there at Jantar Mantar, and want to expose the lie. The police personnel were very polite. When some of us refused to get up they tried to lift us , in that this kurta was torn. This old veteran was specially treated with great respect. There after one of the TV channels NDTV came and took him aside after which I saw this torn kurta. Then all channels were trying to exploit this old veteran.

  9. Why this spate of articles on OROP after Modi gave the solemn promise from the ramparts of Red Fort. The conspiracy is clear, foreign powers want to spread disaffection in serving soldiers.

  10. The malaise runs very deep. It’s difficult to even fathom how deep it has gone in the last 60 years of Congress rule/misrule. Will it not be difficult to get over this so soon?

    Others apart, what are we doing inside our own org to remove this? Yes, we do have so many unparalleled virtues. Unfortunately, they are’t proving sufficient enough to restore the dignity, status and the respect that the armed forces of the nation deserve.

    I will still say, we should start from within first as we are in-charge of what happens within the org. A good beginning would be to only one system of entry into the offr cadre; have one exam of UPSC; and this should be the IAS exam itself with an option to join the armed forces of the nation.

    Things have reached such a state that even the CAPFs have become better than the armed forces when viewed from the perspective of terms and conditions of service.

    Regards.

  11. Sala Modi tumko ijjat de raha hai to sar pe baith gaye., jab Indira Gandhi gand mar rahi thi to woh acha lagta tha aur jab Sonia Gandhi ne sardar ko chief banane ke liye sajish ki aur navy chief ko resign karwaya tab president ke pas nahin gaye.

  12. Sir , in todays world there is nothing right or wrong, everything is categorised as strong and weak. The strong automatically aligns with the right and the weak are are considered wrong. For 60 days veterans were protesting in jantar mantar and no one bothered to even look at them. Babus had been laughing as if they are bunch of “worthless people”. Suddenly one day all this came to news wen mr rahul walked on the spot to take political advantage. Why did it come in news, because one mr rahul is stronger than the entire veteran lot. And why is this so, because armed forces have deliberately allowed themselves to be exploited continously. despite actually being the strongest arm of the country, armed forces have allowed netas and babus to exploit them. This is total failure of the top lot who didnt raise their voice against all this just because they have been wanting some brownie points. And it is the same attitude which is persisting even now. And netas and babus are very much aware of this weekness. So while army is weak, they can never be right. And mere showing of emotions is not going to get any objective.

  13. I am also an affected party but the way some of these OROP activists are behaving is leading to situation wherein we shall get the money but we will lose all public respect and goodwill.

  14. The Congress is desperate that Modi should not get the credit of OROP. That is why they have hired two stooges to sit on fast-unto-death,even after PM’S Independence Day promise. They have disobeyed the leaders in doing this. They have been paid by Hooda. Therefore none of these scums are going to die. Such crooks sully the cause of ex-servicemen and are in plenty.

  15. Sir ..ashamed n disillusions us..being in uniform. Is that what for I decided to join army?? Army being a voluntary force and all those who join it know they aren’t any big perks big promotions Family life etc etc but one thing that army gives is or I shud say use to give is respect both by his subordinates but also by citizens of the nation ..its absolutely shocking..i was a big fan of our pm nd expected him to apologize to the war veterans for the incident that happened Frm the red fort itself but till date he has just kept quiet on it very uncharacteristically. shockingly enough the home minister alsowho is responsible for what happened also choosing to keep..nd definitely v cant expect in such a hierarchy tht the delhi police chief issues apology on behalf of his force…we in uniform can just be mute spectators to all this? ?

  16. The orop was started in the70’s.One after the other govts failed to show the genuine concern to implement it.Here we have an individual who wants(genuine) to implement it.We are unwilling to give him time.Can any one deny the fact that number of meetings that have taken place,between the ex-servicemen and the govt, under his leadership of 15months are far more than total meetings that may taken place since 70’s.He will do it not under any duress but because he is really concerned about it.It does not help to play in to the hands of the likes of NDTV(Congress mouth piece).Were they sleeping during the regime of UPA Govt.I too am an ex officer and I have full faith in this Nationalist

  17. Sir, Why not General VK singh and colonel RAthore resign? finally OROP is a question of cost. You say an anmount of Rupees 8300/- per annum is involved while some say it is about 20,000 and odd. If Government cannot accede to this demand then there must be a valid reason.

  18. Since the era of Pundit ji, our armed forces had been degraded by not providing proper weapons, other material & war euipment, proper woollen uniforms & last but not the least, the then defence minister k. Menon, being the communist, purposely, handled the situation very badly, is quiet well known in the history of Chinese aggression on the Indian soil.
    In ’65, our bravehearts had captured major Pakistani territories but political drama played against the will of army & returned to Pakistan their captured lands. Thus, demoralised the armed forces.
    In ’71, our Sam Bahadur played the major roll & the late Indira Gandhi government, bureaucracy & other organisations fully cooperated & worked under the leadership of Sam Manekshaw. Thus, history says that in 10 centuries, India, first time won the war against it’s staunch enemy.
    My point of view, here is, that, so far, no chief had worked so much for the benefit of the armed forces, he was the dauntless upright officer & made government politely to obey his command. Today, no chief can match his stature, that is the drawback of the armed forces. This is the reason why, our brave veterans have come out on the street of Delhi to protest for their rightful cause. Besides, it is noticeable that our veterans are weak by age but not by courage; only, void of their leadership is to be filled up by someone, who can stand against the government apathy, to fulfil the promise , made by Modi government before coming to power. Jai Hind.

  19. OROP is a just and logical demand which has been denied all along. The first leader to accept it unequivocally was Modi. But when he has given a solemn promise in the name of 125 crores people, the national flag and the red fort then where is the debate. Now is he expected to swear by his mothers–well that is the standard of the Generals leading the movement. They were the biggest thieves in service and now are trying to do netagiri. They have thieved so much that to atone for their sins they must donate their pensions to Kargil widows. This specially applies to Viz, Deepak Kapoor and JJ Singh.One tried for a BJP ticket, the other fought on AAP ticket. And what right an anti-national like Ramdas, who handles Ford Foundation funds in India, whose daughter is married to a Pakistani, has to represent the cause of Indian rpt Indian ex-servicemen. A lot of foreign funded NGOs banned by the Indian govt have infiltrated. Imagine channels like NDTV which at the slightest pretext called army personnel rapists in Kashmir have become big champions of OROP.

  20. Army officer’s superiority complex and ego are creating all these problems. They think they are all good fighters and no terrorist can attack them where ever they are. But now a days terrorist are more intelligent and mainly targeting Army and Para military forces. Those Army people who are assembled there do not know all the Army people. This is a very convenient place for the terrorist to attack the army people. I think these old Army people are still thinking about conventional war and they do not know what is happening in the world. Terrorist can come with Army vehicle loaded with explosive. Please read the report given below:-
    “There’s a simple reason why the militants are using Humvees and other armored vehicles as rolling bombs,” Naylor reports. “Their protective armored plating prevents defenders from killing the trucks’ drivers before the militants can detonate their loads, while the vehicles’ capacity to carry enormous amounts of weight means the Islamic State can sometimes pack in a ton of explosives.”
    ISIS has used these bomb-laden Humvees in waves of suicide bombings.
    Read more:-
    http://www.businessinsider.in/ISIS-is-turning-US-Humvees-into-Iraqs-worst-nightmare/articleshow/47557936.cms

    I felt this article may be an eye opener for India to adopt a new war strategy against Pakistan . It is shocking to know how effectively the ISIS has​ used the captured vehicles against the Iraqi army, which was ​unable to distinguish whether it was ​their vehicle or ISIS vehicle and failed to use the right kind of weapon to destroy the explosive-laden vehicle.
    So I do not find police has done any wrong doing by evicting them to sanitize the area. These Ex. Servicemen should understand world is changing fast. Army people are still thinking that Army job is the most dangerous. To day the most dangerous and unsafe profession is driving automobile and agriculture.Those who are working in Coke oven and the Blast furnace are the toughest place to work. One has to work there till their retirement. For the Army people they need not work in Siachen glacier continuously. .The condition of small farmers are Pathetic. I want all of you should read the article given below after opening the link given below:-
    When will farmers earn as much as the lowliest government employee?

    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/todays-paper/when-will-farmers-earn-as-much-as-the-lowliest-government-employee/article1645389.ece
    ​But Army officers are fighting for ​better pension.

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