Amid the controversy over the Annandale ground in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Monday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A.K. Antony and sought an inquiry into the matter as well as an apology from the Army for its alleged insinuations against him and the State government,.
Mr. Dhumal, who was here to attend the Chief Ministers meeting on internal security, said he apprised the Prime Minister about the “baseless allegations” made by the Western Command Headquarters in a press statement and sought action against all those involved in this “unsavoury incident.”
“The Prime Minister told me that he would ask the Defence Minister to look into the issue and gave a very patient hearing,” Mr. Dhumal said after the meeting.
Later in day, Mr. Dhumal met Mr. Antony in the latter's office and gave him detailed him about the issue. “Mr. Antony was very nice and said he had taken action in the matter and asked the authorities concerned to inquire into the whole affair. I am quite happy with his response.”
The Chief Minister said Army Chief General V.K. Singh also called him up and assured him that an inquiry had been ordered into the issue and that appropriate action was being taken.
Mr. Dhumal alleged that indiscipline was on the rise in the Army and it was a matter of serious concern. “Some press statement has been given. I have said if an unconditional apology is tendered, it is fine. Otherwise, I am filing a defamation suit in the court. The allegations are without any basis. I don't know why such a statement has been given.”
The Army had in a statement said national security cannot be ignored for game and gimmicks. It maintained that Annandale is of great strategic significance.
Mr. Dhumal said the Army was in forcible occupation of Annandale since 1982. The residents of Shimla had launched a “jan andolan.”