After ‘Criticism’, Defence PRO Deletes Tweet On Iftar Hosted By Indian Army

Srinagar: An Iftar was organized by Indian Army at Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda. Indian Army had tweeted about the secular tradition of holding an iftar party by posting pictures of the event. The post came under attack from the editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News. The defence ministry’s public relations officer (PRO), Jammu allegedly deleted a tweet after being attacked.

The PRO tweeted photographs of an iftar held by the Army in Doda on April 21. They said, “Keeping alive the traditions of secularism, an Iftar was organised by the Indian Army at Arnora in Doda district”. An iftar gathering was seen in the photographs. In the photographs General Officer Commanding of the Delta Force of the Army’s Rashtriya Rifles can be seen interacting with local Muslims and a uniformed person offering namaz with civilians.

Later that day, Sudarshan News CMD and editor-in-chief, Suresh Chavhanke tweeted, “Ab ye bimari Bhartiya sena mein bhi ghuss gayi hai? Dukhad…” (Now this disease has spread even in the Indian Army? Sad). His comment drew widespread support from several Twitter users.

There was no reaction from the Army or the defence PRO to Chavhanke’s remarks. The PRO defence (Jammu) deleted the original tweet which was highlighting the iftar tradition.

Lt Col Devender Anand, PRO defence (Jammu), refuted to speak about the deletion of the tweet when contacted.

Reacting to the development the former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Command, Lt Gen Tej Sapru (retd), expressed on concern on removal of tweet. “There was nothing wrong in the tweet. It should have been vigorously defended. The Army holds iftar in the insurgency-prone area because reaching out to the local population is an integral part of fighting the militants. And the Muslims in this part of the J&K are more Indian than you or me. The Army would do the same thing for any other religion if there was strife in that area and which it was tackling. In fact, we do so in the northeast too by reaching out to the Christian population. This has nothing to do with religion or politics and it is purely an instrument to fight militancy by taking people along with you,” he said.

Retired officer Maj Gen Yash Mor too defended the original tweet. “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,” he tweeted.

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