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Kiren Rijiju may take on the anti-India brigade in JNU but leave armed forces alone

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju should be taken to task for undermining the armed forces. By tweeting about a dated video of a soldier letting off steam, he has not only invaded that soldier’s right to privacy and made him inconsequential by not taking his permission, but also created a link between the left-leaning Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and our men and women in uniform.

You didn’t pat his back, you disrespected him. These are all invasion of the soldier’s privacy and Sriram Gorde was not given the chance to stop the abuse of his private ranting with friends and comrades in uniform in either the barracks, at a little mess or langar or simply during a durbar.

You want to fix the anti-India brigade in JNU go for it, but leave the armed forces out of it. The danger here is that Gorde was not a part of the bargain and he was not volunteering his opinions at a public rally or going on Facebook and spouting of his sense of unfairness.

File image of Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju. PTI

File image of Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju. PTI

The minister should also realise that even though the video was an old one it was an indictment of his government that is afraid to clean up the muck in educational institutions like JNU and is only firing the gun literally off this soldier. Gorde should sue Rijiju and demand restitution.

It is not only a question of ‘our’s is not to question why, our’s is but to do and die’ that makes for the camaraderie and the sense of togetherness which marks our forces, it is a full in your face question of discipline. And when discipline is compromised it is a steep slope down.

If the media keeps ballooning these sort of private conversations into wide-ranging sentiment it is actually placing the chain of command in jeopardy.The military has a tradition and that has seen us through several wars and conflicts. Honour them by respecting the privacy of their opinions, not by manipulating them.

Where do we go from here after crying copious crocodile tears over our armed forces? What if the glare and stunning power of media, especially TV and these social platforms, now compels another soldier to critique the training systems or the rigorous commando course or his commanding officer and then moves on to the next logical step of turning to his platoon commander and refusing a direct order.

And then the next step on this rickety ladder of security. Sorry, don’t want to go to war, no going up that picket, you go instead. On second thoughts, I am going on Facebook because I do not agree with the battle plan.

The intrinsic and vital difference between the armed forces and civvy street is you do not question your superior officer’s orders.

It is as simple as that.

Gorde has a total right to his opinion. No one has the right to snatch that opinion and make it into a political weapon.

We are playing with fire here and if we are not careful, we will, as a nation, burn our fingers.

The tragedy is that you probably believe that using the Gorde video was a blow against anti-nationals and a hurrah for the armed forces.

If anything, Gorde and a hundred thousand other soldiers, JCOs and officers must be ruing the damage you have done.

If media continues to patronise the armed forces under the garb of bleeding heart concern all it will achieve is giving the enemy a huge morale boost.

A nation that confuses its forces is a nation that is dismantling its security. Beware the Ides of March.

Updated Date: Mar 03, 2017 16:56 PM

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