General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff has been pulled up by Lok Sabha MP and AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal for having said on Wednesday that the illegal influx of migrants from Bangladesh had led to “faster” growth of the AIUDF, an Opposition party widely believed to be espousing the cause of the minorities. General Rawat’s remark came in the course of his address at a semir titled ‘Northeast Region of India—Bridging the Gap and Securing Borders’ held in New Delhi. Ajmal was quick to respond. “We respect Gen. Rawat but his comments appear to be politically motivated, and as the Army chief he has no authority to make such political statements. We will meet the President, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to draw their attention to Rawat’s objectioble comments,” Ajmal said. True, one does not normally expect the Chief of Army Staff to make comments relating to political parties. However, his comments were made at a semir to which he should not have been invited if there was a total ban on the Army chief commenting even on demographic developments in some part of the country. Gen. Rawat does not cease to be a patriotic Indian merely because he is the Army chief. And since no one was drawing attention to such an alarming development, he must have felt that it was imperative for him to do so. There would perhaps have been no objection to his comments if he had merely spoken of the large-scale illegal migration from Bangladesh without referring to the Indian political party that was a major beneficiary of such illegal migration.
Reins on the Army Chief