The viral letter purportedly written by over 150 military veterans has sparked a massive controversy as General SF Rodrigues, who is mentioned as the first signatory in the purported letter, has denied signing it. Another military veteran Air Chief Marshal NC Suri has said that, “This is not Admiral Ramdas’ letter (purported letter written by armed forces veterans to President) and it has been done by some Major Chaudhary. He has written this & it was coming on WhatsApp and emails.”
“To put an end to it, I wrote that armed forces are apolitical and support the politically elected govt. And no, my consent has not been taken for any such letter. I don’t agree with whatever has been written in that letter. We have been misquoted,” Air Chief Marshal NC Suri added.
Earlier report had said that over 150 veterans including three former Army chiefs - General (retired) SF Rodrigues, General (retired) Shankar Roy Chowdhury and General (retired) Deepak Kapoor, four former Navy chiefs and former Air Force chief NC Suri wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind highlighting "unusual and completely unacceptable practice of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes and claiming the armed forces to be 'Modi ji ki Sena'". "...we write to bring to your attention, as the Supreme Commander of India's Armed Forces, some concerns which have caused considerable alarm and disquiet among both the serving and the retired personnel of our Forces," the letter read.
“We in the services have always done what the govt in power ordered us, we are an instrument of the state. We are apolitical. Anyone can say anything and then sell it as fake news, I don't know who this gentleman is who wrote this (purported letter to Pres),” General Rodrigues was quoted as saying by ANI. Former Army Vice Chief Lt General ML Naidu ( who is mentioned at 20th in the list of armed forces veterans who purportedly wrote letter to President), “no, my consent has not been taken for any such letter and neither have I written any such letter.”
However, Major General Harsha Kakkar (who is 31st on the list of armed forces veterans who purportedly wrote letter to President) said that, “Yes, I had given my consent for being a signatory to the letter. I had given my consent only after knowing the contents of it.”
Meanwhile, the Congress has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to use soldiers for votes but India's armed forces were with the country and not the saffron party. The opposition party was reacting to a letter written by over 150 armed forces veterans to President and Commander-in-Chief Ram Nath Kovind, complaining about the manner in which political parties have been using armed forces for political gains ahead of the Lok Sabha election. Congress said that it was clear that the soldiers were with India.
"Modi may try to use soldiers for votes, but it's clear that soldiers stand with India and not the BJP. 156 Veterans of the Indian Armed Forces including 8 former Chiefs of Staff write to the President of India urging him to act against Modi for trying to use soldiers for votes," said a tweet from the Congress' official Twitter handle.