December 9, 2016 11:59:57 am
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar wrote a letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, expressing his pain over her dragging the Army into a controversy. In a two-page letter, Parrikar has explained why the army was present and lamented the lack of discretion on the Chief Minister’s part.
“I have been deeply pained by your allegations as reported in the media,” he wrote. He stated that Mamata should have spoken to state agencies and inquired about the exercise. “You would have come to know the extensive correspondence between army and state agencies, including the joint inspection of sites carried out by them,” he said.
WATCH VIDEO | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Writes To West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
He said that the allegation could bring down the morale of the army and an action such as this was not expected from someone of “your standing and experience in public life”. He added: “Your allegations in this regard run the risk of adversely impacting the morale of the country’s armed forces.”
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He further said it is easy for political parties to bring allegations against each other but matters become much more complicated when the armed forces are involved. “Political parties and politicians may have the luxury of making wild and unsubstantial allegations against each other, but one needs to be extremely careful while referring to our armed forces,” he said, adding that he wanted to bring this to the Chief Minister’s notice.
Mamata Banerjee last week alleged that the Army had carried out an exercise in the state, including near the state Secretariat, despite “explicit denial of permission” by Kolkata Police. The Army had called the government’s allegations false and stated that due protocol had been followed. Mamata alleged that the exercise was held because she spoke out against demonetisation.
A row had also earlier erupted when Banerjee’s flight was being made to hover over Kolkata. After this incident, she alleged threat to her life, calling the airport incident a “threat to her life”. Senior Trinamool leader Firhad Hakim, who was accompanying Banerjee in the flight, however, took strong exception to “delayed permission from the ATC” for the flight to land and alleged that it was a conspiracy to eliminate the CM.
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