Ex-servicemen have taken strong exception to the manner in which former Army chief V.K. Singh’s Z-security cover was withdrawn by the UPA government last week.
Retired Major General Satvir Singh, the vice chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), said Gen Singh had initiated several steps to check insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir and the Northeast. “Z security was provided to him on the basis of a real threat perception. It was not a favour granted to him,” he said. According to these former servicemen, though the government can review a VIP’s threat perception to decide whether to continue with the security cover, the manner in which it was done in this case was unfair. “The manner in which the decision was taken and the timing smack of vengeance, as it was linked to the protest against the gang rape. What was the need to announce the decision publicly? If something happens to V.K. Singh, the Prime Minister and the entire government will be responsible,” Satvir Singh said.
He also said that the FIR lodged against Singh by the Delhi police might give rise to “inter agency discord”.
Retired Major General P.K. Renjen, an ISEM member, said, “There is anguish and unhappiness among ex army personnel.” “General A.S. Vaidya retired on 31 January 1986 and was assassinated in August the same year. We do not know the exact reason why the security was withdrawn, but it should have been continued for the next few months. Taking away the security cover so soon after his retirement smacks of vendetta,” said Renjen. Lt Gen S.K. Bahri, the national coordinator of Alliance of Ex-Servicemen Organisation. “As a citizen of this country, Singh has every right to express solidarity with a social cause. He has done nothing against law. The FIR is an attempt by the government to silence all voices.”