A smear campaign that merits probe...
THE PIL filed in the Supreme Court against the selection of Lt General Bikram Singh as the next Chief of the Indian Army has been dumped by the august court where it belongs — in the dustbin. One wonders what prompted these senior citizens — a retired admiral of the Indian Navy, a retired chief election commissioner, a veteran journalist, a retired Lt General of the army and a retired ias officer, to come together for a lost cause of this nature.
One has never heard of this distinguished group having got together for any other matter of national interest, so why now and why in this regard? The access that these elements seem to have to confidential matters and documents held at army headquarters is also a reason for worry. It would be worthwhile for the government to find the motive behind the filing of the PIL, so as to get to the root of the forces working against its perfectly legitimate decision concerning the army.
It is being said that there are vested interests behind the selection of Lt General Bikram Singh as the next chief of army staff. It can also be argued that there are certain vested interests which do not wish to see him on the chiefs chair.
Whatever the argument, there are some forces at work that are clinging to straws to set back a government decision taken at the highest level, with due deliberation and in a bipartisan manner. This matter has been seized by authorities at multiple levels, internally within the army organisation, in the highest levels of the government and in one earlier instance in the apex court itself. At every stage the decision has gone in favour of the present dispensation.
Does the collective wisdom of all these august institutions and learned people who man them, amount to nothing in front of a petulant belief of a few senior citizens of the country who seem to have lost the basic sense of propriety?
How can somebody be so stupid as to believe that in a sensitive matter of this nature, which is in media glare, the government would not take all precautions before reaching to a decision?
The fact that a thorough background check was carried out by the government before the selection process was put in motion is well known having been reported in the media.
All issues were put under scrutiny and set aside before the result of the selection was declared.
It would be reasonable to assume that the group which had filed the PIL knew about these developments and was well aware that their PIL would not stand scrutiny in the court, which leads one to believe that the objective was to put pressure upon the incoming army chief with a smear campaign and embarrass the government in the bargain.
Is it worthwhile to make a specimen out of one of the most revered office of the country in this insensitive manner and in the process, jeopardise national interest and stature?
Lt General Bikram Singh has a distinguished career and all the attributes required to take on the responsibilities that are to be conferred upon him shortly. It is up to the nation to provide him absolute, unstinted support so that he can do justice to his sensitive appointment. He has proved his credentials by maintaining a dignified silence despite uncouth attempts and blatant lies to malign his good name.
Anybody else in his place would have probably filed a defamation case against those who have used insufficient knowledge to attack his credentials.
It is, however, clear that he does not wish to engage himself in worthless controversy in the larger interest of the nation.
Every time the muck flies it is the national stature which takes a beating. This matter has to be put to rest and the sooner, the better. Maybe the time has come for the government to wield the stick and say enough is enough.
The opinions expressed here are the author’s own