New Delhi: Several Army veterans Sunday hit out at a former major general of the Ordnance Corps who, during a TV debate, appeared to endorse rape and murder as legitimate military tactics.
The Army distanced itself from the remarks even as the episode has reignited the debate on a proposed “Code of Conduct” for veterans that the Army Headquarters is working on.
During a high-decibel debate on the Kashmiri Pandit exodus on TV 9 Bharatvarsh, Major General S P Sinha (retd) screamed, “Maut ke badle maut (death for death), balatkar ke badle balatkar (rape for rape)”.
It drew an instant rebuke from fellow panellists as well as the woman anchor. The retired major general was asked to apologise but he stood by his remarks.
To make matters worse, he did an instant poll on the channel and some from the audience, which included women, can be heard supporting him.
Listen this Ex Army officer Major General SP Sinha.
He said "Balatkar ke badle Balatkar" (rape for rape) as a revenge for Kashmiri Pandit exodus.
He is openly supporting rape of Kashmiri women, such kind of filthy officers are protected under draconian Law like AFSPA. pic.twitter.com/GHaHFota1S
— Md Asif Khan آصِف (@imMAK02) November 17, 2019
The retired officer has since not spoken of the episode. Attempts to reach him on the phone remained futile as it was switched off.
Veterans slam retired officer
Former Director General of Military Operations, Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (retd), was among those who took to Twitter to criticise Sinha for the “insensitive and unfortunate” comments.
The officer said he was sure Sinha has not been anywhere near the frontline or involved in counter-terrorism operations ever, adding that the retired officer was known to make obnoxious statements for momentary fame.
Insensitive & unfortunate. I am sure he has not been anywhere near d frontline or in contact in CT ops ever. Easy 2 talk in AC studio, undo all the good work and sacrifices of the army. Extreme views of an individual who is known to make obnoxious statements for momentary fame.
— Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (@Ptr6Vb) November 17, 2019
The former chief of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (retd), which looks after operations at the LoC and in the Valley, called Sinha a “loose missile”.
Endorse all written by my coursemate and respected colleague. Those in thick of CT operations know what its all about. Human suffering witnessed upfront tempers opinion.Sometimes feel Pak Army's system of clearing veteran offrs for public forums is correct. Loose missiles avoided https://t.co/kNRQUo3M3u
— Syed Ata Hasnain (@atahasnain53) November 17, 2019
Many others from the veterans’ community joined in and asked the retired officer to apologise.
Major General S P Sinha has just defamed the Army.
May I humbly request the @adgpi and @drajaykumar_ias to strip him of his Major General rank with immediate effect.
This vile man has just destroyed a hard won reputation of restraint and patience of our Army.
— Lt Col Sundeep Parija (Retd) (@sundeepparija) November 17, 2019
— Col Ashok; Veteran (@ashokkmrsingh) November 17, 2019
Army distances itself from remarks
The Army too distanced itself from the remarks.
“He is a retired officer and does not come under the purview of the Code of Conduct for serving personnel or the Army Act,” a senior officer in the Army Headquarters told ThePrint.
Army sources said that such remarks by an officer “who has never commanded soldiers in anti-terror operations or taken part in any such operations in the Valley” sullies the image of the force.
The senior officer quoted above said that such language and remarks is what made the Army work on a “Code of Conduct” for the veterans.
Many in the forces as well as in the public have felt that some of the veterans are indeed sullying the image of the armed forces, which is known for its apolitical nature and discipline, with their shouting, yelling and warmongering in debates on news channels, and with trolling, use of uncouth and communal remarks on social media.
Another officer commented that veterans should be careful about what they say in public as they still carry the rank.
“The Tri-Service allows one to carry their ranks even after retirement,” the officer said. “While in Service, they are governed by the Army Act and the Code of Conduct, it is expected that their conduct will not not unbecoming after retirement.
“They have to be careful of what they speak because inimical elements can easily use what they speak to paint the forces in a particular way.”