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'Politics is being mixed with the army'

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru | November 06, 2008 16:27 IST

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The arrest of Lieutenant Colonel Purohit in connection with the Malegaon blasts has come as a shock because it involves a man from the defence forces. The Mumbai police claim that this man was directly involved in the case and was closely linked to Sadhvi Pragya Singh.

A big question being raised following the arrest of Lt Col. Purohit is whether the secular fibre of the Indian army [Images] is being eroded.

Major O A M Tims, who was secretary to Field Marshal K M Cariappa, says that there is a perception that everyone in the army lives together in harmony. "While on the surface it appears so, below the surface there is this hatred among communities which is growing. This trend has been around since the 1980s and here I want to quote what my commanding officer had to say on this trend. He had said that if such a trend continues in the army where communal hatred is growing, I am sure that there will not be an India very soon."

Major Tims said that the arrest of Purohit was shocking but deep down he realised that this was something that was waiting to happen. "There is a general perception that the continous battle with both Pakistan and Bangladesh has made several persons within the army communal, which is not at all true. We have been in war with Pakistan since 1948, but when we fight them there is no such thing as Hindus and Muslims. It is just another enemy country," Tims said.

"However the secular fabric of the army has started to erode thanks largely to the political equations in the country. Politics is being mixed with the army. There have also been instances of close contacts between some army personnel and politicians, which has contributed to the change in mindset, which in turn has turned them communal," Tims said.

"Purohit was part of the Corps of Intelligence, who specialise in planning and help execute attacks. The remaining army personnel being questioned were part of the Corps of Engineers and theseĀ  persons have access to the explosives and hence they could have supplied it. In my opinion there are two factors that may have pushed them to take such a step. One is the feeling of communal hatred and also I am sure that these chaps would not have done itĀ  without there being a monetary consideration." Tims said.

"What I foresee is that this will not end here. The arrested man is bound to come up with more names and I predict only harder times ahead for the Indian army. If found guilty I demand that these men are hanged because the very secular fabric of this great institution is being eroded by the madness of a few," the major said.

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