New Delhi: While the Indian Army’s proud ethos entails the training of Espirit-de-Corps, which is the spirit of comradeship and brotherhood of the brave, regardless of caste, creed or religion, this incident is not quite up to it. In an event that can generally be translated as an impact of the ongoing wave of polarization in the country, the ‘PRO Defence Jammu’ Twitter handle deleted the tweet showing the Iftaar gathering. On Friday, PRO Defence Jammu posted a tweet showing pictures of an Army-organised Iftaar gathering in J&K’s Doda district. “Keeping alive the traditions of secularism, an Iftaar was organised by the Indian Army at Arnora in Doda district. #Ramadan”, the tweet mentioned. It invited a sharp reaction by a section of Twitterati. Following the reactions, the tweet was allegedly pulled down.
Reacting to pictures of the Iftaar gathering shared by the Army’s Twitter handle, Sudarshan TV editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke said in a tweet, “Now this illness has entered the Indian Army as well? Sad.” Chavhanke’s remarks invoked both praise and criticism with many social media users taking a cue from him to criticise the Army and others rebuking him for commenting on the armed forces.
“In the Army, you will have Muslim officers and me taking part in a Hindu festival or even havan and similarly, Hindus taking part in the festival of other religions. Every unit reaches out to the local community on festivals and occasions which are there locally and Doda iftaar has been going on for ages. It is sad to see the Army being targeted like this,” news website the print quoted an Indian Army officer who did not wish to be identified.
Asked about why the tweet in question was deleted, the officer said, “The trolling was too high. The tweet was deleted to ensure that no more controversy remains but yes, the deletion has led to more controversy. But deletion does not mean the forces are supporting any side. Our traditions and celebrations will continue.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Lt Gen H S Panag (retd), former GOC-in-C, Northern Command, said failure to defend the original tweet and then deleting it in the face of criticism was “cowardice”. “The concerned PRO and the Army should have had the guts to defend the tradition of holding iftar during Ramzan. There is nothing wrong with it. This is part of the Army’s policy to win the hearts and minds of the local population. We run Army Goodwill Schools for the local population too and all these measures are meant to take the local population along as we fight a foreign-sponsored militancy. And the locals appreciate these efforts. In any case, there is nothing new in holding an iftar in J&K and this has been a practice for many years,” he said.
Indian Army has been at the forefront of interfaith harmony.
We as officer’s take pride in the fact that we have NO religion, we just adopt the religion of the troops we command! https://t.co/7nUSPapgq9
— Maj Gen (Dr) YashMor (@YashMor5) April 22, 2022
“Indian Army has been at the forefront of interfaith harmony. We as officers take pride in the fact that we have NO religion, we just adopt the religion of the troops we command!” Maj Gen (Dr) YashMor (Retd) tweeted reacting to Chavhanke’s tweet.
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