Over 150 military veterans wrote a letter on Friday to the President expressing their reservations over alleged “political use” of the armed forces. At a poll rally on Saturday, PM Modi cited surgical strike among other things to Opposition parties in Karnataka.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched fresh attack on the Congress and other Opposition parties citing surgical strike and Balakot strike amid objection by veterans of the armed forces over reference to the Army and the Indian Air Force in electoral discourse.
PM Modi, who was addressing an election rally in Mangaluru in Karnataka, said, “When surgical strike is carried out, they ask for proof. When India targets terrorists in their own backyard, these mahamilawati people (reference he uses to address the Congress and its allies), they raise doubts over our armed forces. They have stooped so low that they call the army chief a street goonda (ruffian).”
“When surgical strike happens they ask for evidence. When India kills terrorists in their homes, then that whole gang, ‘mahamilawati log’ (highly adulterated people) come to question the armed forces. Do you trust our forces or not? Do you need evidence? They have stooped so low that they call army chief a goonda.
This came a day after over 150 military veterans wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, expressing outrage over what they called “use” of the armed forces for “political purposes”. The letter, dated April 11, carries the names of eight former service chiefs.
However, two of them – former Army chief General (retd) SF Rodrigues and Air Chief Marshal (retd) N C Suri – have denied having written such a letter. But they maintained that the armed forces are apolitical and they should not be politicised.