Wading into the bitter political row over protests against the new citizenship law days before his retirement, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat Thursday criticised those at the head of the protests, saying they were “leading masses”, including university and college students, to carry out arson and violence in cities, and this did not amount to leadership.
“Leaders are not those who lead people in inappropriate directions, as we are witnessing in a large number of universities and college students… the way they are leading masses of crowds to carry out arson and violence in our cities and towns,” General Rawat said at a health summit here.
“This is not leadership,” the Army chief told the gathering. “Even amongst the crowd you find leaders… But leaders are those who lead people in the right direction.”
“What is so complex about leadership, if it is all about leadership. It is all about leading. Because when you move forward, everybody follows. It is not that simple. It appears simple, but it is a complex phenomenon,” he said.
Army brass has a view
General Rawat, who is scheduled to retire as Army chief at the end of the month and is seen as the front-runner for the newly created post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), is the second top-ranking military officer to comment on the citizenship law and its aftermath.
Earlier this month, Eastern Army Commander Lt General Anil Chauhan told journalists in Kolkata that “as far as the Indian security scenario is concerned, the current government is keen to take hard decisions which have been pending for a very long time. In the first year of its second term, we have already seen Article 370 revoked and Jammu and Kashmir state has been bifurcated into two.”
“The government is keen to conclude the talks with the Nagas which have been going on for a long time. They are primarily assessing its impact on Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur before taking a call on this… you have seen the CAB has been passed despite reservations expressed by couple of North-eastern states,” Lt General Chauhan had said.
“It would not be hard to guess that some hard decisions in respect of the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) may also be on the card after this. So the internal security environment is a very challenging one,” he said.