Over 150 veterans, including eight former Service chiefs wrote a letter to the President and Supreme Commander of the Armed forces, Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to intervene against 'politicisation' of the military in the Lok Sabha elections.
However, Rashtrapati Bhawan sources said on Friday that they have not received any such letter. Also, some veterans mentioned in the letter said they have not endorsed it.
“We hearby respectfully urge you to take all necessary steps to urgently direct all political parties that they must forthwith desist from using the military, military uniforms or symbols, and any actions by military formations or personnel, for political purposes or to further their political agendas,” the 156 veterans said in the letter dated April 11.
April 11 was the first phase of the general election and the final phase falls on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.
Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak (retd.), whose name features in the list, told The Hindu : “The letter was sent by email and endorsement was also given over email.”
He said he fully endorsed the contents of the letter. Some of the officers in the list seem to have developed cold feet. “I am surprised that Rashtrapati Bhawan is not aware of the letter,” he added.
The veterans referred to the “unusual and totally unacceptable practice” of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes and even being called “Modi ki sena” referring to recent comments by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
They stated that such 'misuse' of the armed forces “would impinge adversely on the morale and fighting efficiency of the serving man and woman in uniform.”
“We therefore appeal to you to ensure the secular and apolitical character of our armed forces is preserved,” they said.