Army chief row: Cong keeps distance,Sachar backs him

AICC ex-servicemen department secretary Praveen Davar said the issue is between the “government and the chief” and should not be politicised.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:January 4, 2012 12:53 am

The Congress on Tuesday sought to depoliticise the age controversy involving Army Chief General V K Singh even as he got support from several quarters including retired Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajindar Sachar who criticised the government for handling the matter in an “ungainly way”.

Reacting to the letter from Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh to Defence Minister A K Antony in support of Singh on the age issue,the Congress said the communication was sent in a personal capacity and politicians should not comment on the internal affairs of the armed forces.

“(Amarinder Singh) is a former officer of the Army who has his views on strategic and military affairs… after he has clarified that he has written the letter in a personal capacity,we should leave it at that,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari on Tuesday.

AICC ex-servicemen department secretary Praveen Davar said the issue is between the “government and the chief” and should not be politicised.

Meanwhile,others,including Justice Sachar and retired armed forces officers,have come out in Singh’s support. In a statement,Justice Sachar took on the government for dealing with the matter in a “very casual manner” and belittling the Army chief.

“It is a matter of regret that the government should deal with such a matter as if it was dealing with a matter of head clerk’s age. Civilian control of Army does not permit playing with the dignity of armed forces,” Sachar said.

Retired officers,including recent Army Commanders,also supported Singh. “If the government feels very strongly about the matter it can find a way of agreeing with the chief on the date of birth issue

and at the same time telling him to retire (this year) in organisational interest,” said Lt Gen (retd) Aditya Singh.

Lt Gen (retd) Raj Kadyan,who heads the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM),said Singh has a strong legal case but the image of the Army should not be dented because of the controversy.

Special Forces officer Lt Gen P C Katoch,who retired recently as the Director General Information Systems,said nobody in the military disputes supremacy of the civilian government but in this case,the bureaucracy has taken a hard line.

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