Ex-Navy chief to EC: prevent politicisation of forces

Ramdas wrote the letter at a time when Opposition parties were crying foul over the ruling BJP's attempt to reap political dividends out of the IAF's air-strike on a terror camp in Pakistan. (PTI File Photo)

Former Indian Navy chief Admiral L Ramdas has written to the Election Commission asking it to restrain political parties from using the pictures of Armed Forces for electioneering.

He wrote to the EC expressing concerns over “recent instances of using the Armed Forces for political gains, especially in the aftermath of both Pulwama (in Jammu and Kashmir) and the strikes in Balakot (in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan) and the shooting down, capture and repatriation of an Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot.

“I am sure that you are well aware that the Armed Forces have always prided themselves on belonging to a structure, an ethos and environment which has been both apolitical and secular,” Ramdas wrote to the commission.

“With elections due in a few weeks from now, it is particularly important that there should not be any misuse of these recent events by any political party to send triumphalist or jingoistic messages which can influence the electorate,” he added.

The former Indian Navy chief wrote that he had written the letter on behalf of several veterans of the Indian Armed Forces. “I share our collective sense of dismay and deep concern at how some political parties are brazenly pushing their agenda using images, uniforms and other examples, showing pictures of the Armed Forces with political figures, in public spaces, in media, election rallies and so on,” he wrote to the EC.

“This is completely unacceptable since it has the potential to destroy the very foundations and value system of our Armed Forces, drawn from the vision, the spirit and intent of the Indian Constitution.”

He wrote the letter at a time when Opposition parties were crying foul over the ruling BJP's attempt to reap political dividends out of the IAF's air-strike on a terror camp in Pakistan.

Admiral Ramdas urged the EC to immediately intervene and send a strong message to political parties that there should be no misuse of the photographs as indeed any other material or reports or other information pertaining to the armed forces for electioneering in any way.

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Ex-Navy chief to EC: prevent politicisation of forces

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