NEW DELHI: A controversy has broken out over a letter purportedly written by 156 Armed Forces veterans, including nine retired chiefs, to the President, against the politicisation of the armed forces.
The letter, which hit the social media on Friday morning, included names of nine former chiefs, besides several veterans.
However, Air Chief Marshal NC Suri and General SF Rodrigues denied they ever endorsed it, while other signatories said they had given their individual consent.
Sources in Rashtrapati Bhawan say they have not recieved this letter that is going around in social media. However, the President's office said it has received one letter from former air chief Marshal NC Suri who has denied having written anything on the issue @NewIndianXpress pic.twitter.com/oHZsmU7NtL— Sana Shakil (@sanashakil_TNIE) April 12, 2019
Sources in Rashtrapati Bhavan, too, said the President’s office had not received the letter in question.
“We have received only one letter which is from former service chief N C Suri who has conveyed to us that he has not signed any letter on the issue. We have not received any other letter,” the sources said.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharam said, “It is worrying if people’s consent is being taken and fake letters with fake allegations are being signed by some vested interest groups. It is absolutely condemnable.”
#WATCH Nirmala Sitharaman on purported letter to Pres signed by Armed Forces veterans: 2 senior officers said they haven't given consent,worrying that fake letters being signed by vested groups.Condemnable. Rashtrapati Bhawan has also said that they have not received the letter. pic.twitter.com/VQdWhbgKh5— ANI (@ANI) April 12, 2019
The issue got confounded with Admiral Suresh Mehta, Lt gen ML Naidu, Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, and few others, accepting they had consented to the text the letter contained.
The letter addressed to President said, “We refer to the unusual and completely unacceptable practice of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes, and even going so far as to claim the Armed Forces to be Modi ji ki Sena.”
The letter appealed the President to ensure the secular and apolitical character of the Forces is preserved.