Left parties on Thursday slammed Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat for criticising the anti-CAA protestors, and said as the highest officer in uniform he has "breached the limit" of his institutional role.
CPI(M) urged that the General to apologise to the nation for his "indiscretion" which has extremely adverse ramifications for the Constitutional arrangement in the country.
Earlier on Thursday, Gen Rawat has criticised people leading violent protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act, saying leadership is not about guiding masses, including students to carry out arson and violence, remarks that drew sharp reactions from opposition leaders.
The opposition party attacked Gen Rawat, who is due to retire on December 31 as Army Chief, for making remarks on political issues.
The Politburo of the party said the General has "directly indulged" in condemning the student protestors who have been opposing the amended citizenship law and the proposed pan-India National Register for Citizens.
"Army Chief’s statement underlines as to how the situation has degenerated under the Modi government where the highest officer in uniform can so brazenly breach the limits of his institutional role. It is, therefore, necessary to raise the question as to whether we are going the Pakistan way of politicizing the military. Such obnoxious interference in matters of democratic struggles from top ranking military professionals is unheard of in the history of independent India," it said.
"We also demand that the government takes note of such a breach and censures the General," the party said.
CPI general secretary D Raja said that Rawat as the head of the Indian Army should not have commented on what was a "political issue".
"He is the army chief of the Indian Army and not of any political party. His mandate is to safeguard the borders and not to make such political comments. He has criticised the leadership of the protest, clearly siding with the ruling party," Raja said.
At a health summit in the national capital, the Army chief has said, "Leaders are not those who lead people in inappropriate directions, as we are witnessing in a large number of university and college students, the way they are leading masses of crowds to carry out arson and violence in our cities and towns. This is not leadership."