Communalism

Hundreds of Armed Forces Veterans Write to President on 'Muslim Regiment' Fake News

'Muslims fighting as part of multi-class regiments proved their absolute commitment to the cause of our nation.'

New Delhi: As many as 120 veterans of the Indian Armed Forces, across ranks and appointments, have written an open letter to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, requesting action against those who spread the fake news of a non-existent ‘Muslim regiment’ of the Indian Army refusing to fight in the 1965 war against Pakistan.

The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

The Wire had carried a piece originally reported by Alt News on the spread of misinformation along a false and communal line.

The letter notes that the falsehood campaign originally began in May of 2013, when an account on Twitter, calling itself ‘World Hindus United’ posted the following tweet.

“The tweet was meant to show that Muslim soldiers had their loyalties to Pakistan rather than India. The ‘Muslim Regiment’ post has been re-tweeted many times thereafter, and its insidious surfacing during the on-going Chinese aggression, is certainly suspect,” the letter says, pointing out 18 accounts among hundreds who retweeted and repeated this false claim.

“These ‘Muslim Regiment’ posts are blatantly false, because the Indian Army did not have a Muslim Regiment in 1965 or since,” the letter observes, adding that some senior-ranking veterans have unequivocally pointed this out.

Among them is Lt Gen. Syed Ata Hasnain who in his Times of India blog of November 30, 2017, had noted that this was not true, and was possibly part of Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations’s disinformation campaign.

“We further wish to point out that Muslims fighting as part of multi-class regiments proved their absolute commitment to the cause of our nation.

For example, Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid was posthumously awarded Param Vir Chakra, for his courage and valiance in the Battle of Asal Uttar during the 1965 India-Pakistan War.

Also in the 1965 war, Major (later Lt Gen) Mohammad Zaki and Major Abdul Rafey Khan were both awarded Vir Chakra, the latter posthumously, when he fought against the Pakistani division commanded by his own uncle, Maj Gen Sahibzada Yaqub Khan. Such are the legends of Muslim warriors.”

The letter also cites the example of Brigadier Mohammad Usman who chose to remain in the Indian Army in spite of being approached personally by Jinnah to move to Pakistan. “He fought the Pakistani invasion in Kashmir, was the senior-most officer killed in action in July 1948, and was posthumously awarded Mahavir Chakra for his gallantry. He lies buried in the Jamia Millia Islamia campus in Delhi…” the letter notes.

Saying that Muslim soldiers of this so-called ‘Muslim Regiment’ refused to fight the war against Pakistan in 1965 and hence the ‘Muslim Regiment’ was disbanded, denigrates and questions the loyalty of all serving and retired Muslim soldiers. Further, it helps the enemy by striking at the morale of India’s soldiers to degrade their operational capability.

The signatories note that spread of such messages promotes mistrust among the ranks and that there should be official action against the perpetrators.

“It needs no emphasis that social unrest adversely affects the morale of soldiers who are far away from their families, doing their duty to defend our borders, at daily risk to life and limb,” the letter says.

Appealing to the President to ensure that the secular and apolitical nature of the armed forces be preserved, the signatories have called for the following measures to be taken by the government:

Investigate the antecedents of individuals who have made ‘Muslim Regiment’ posts.

Identify and charge individuals who have made ‘Muslim Regiment’ posts for anti-national activities.

Issue warning to the social media providers (Facebook and Twitter) who have enabled ‘Muslim Regiment’ posts.

Issue immediate instructions to all state governments that the generation of false and seditious messages in social media should be acted upon with alacrity so as to not jeopardise national security.

The full list of signatories is below:

  1. Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, PVSM, AVSM, VrC, VSM
  2. Lt Gen Ramdas Mohan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
  3. Lt Gen RK Nanavatty, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM
  4. Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
  5. Lt Gen UK Ganguli
  6. Lt Gen Raman Dhawan, AVSM,VSM**, ADC
  7. Lt Gen Ashwini Kumar Bakshi AVSM, SM, VSM
  8. Lt Gen Oomman P Mathew, PVSM, AVSM, SM
  9. Lt Gen Kishen Bhatia, PVSM
  10. Lt Gen KS Rao, PVSM, SC, SM
  11. Vice Admiral Madanjit Singh, PVSM, AVSM
  12. Vice Admiral R P Suthan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
  13. Vice Admiral Michael Morales, AVSM
  14. Maj Gen SG Vombatkere, VSM
  15. Maj Gen PK Joglekar, PVSM
  16. Maj Gen Arun Srinivasan
  17. Maj Gen Suresh Krishnan
  18. Maj Gen Inderjit Kashyap
  19. Maj Gen Anil Sawhny, AVSM
  20. Maj Gen SS Grewall, AVSM
  21. Maj Gen Rajendra Prakash, VSM
  22. Maj Gen TK Kaul, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
  23. Maj Gen MPS Kandal
  24. Maj Gen SS Chohan
  25. Rear Admiral Stanley Alan O’Leary
  26. Brig Baqir Shameem
  27. Brig Sharad Ramchandra Luktuke, SM, VSM
  28. Brig Mohammad Nasim Khan
  29. Brig Kakar
  30. Brig JM Devadoss, SM
  31. Brig Vijay Raheja
  32. Brig M Sudandiram, VSM
  33. Brig Vinod Kumar Adappa, SM
  34. Brig Prem Hejmadi
  35. Brig SP Agarwal
  36. Brig M R Deshpande
  37. Brig Deepak Grover
  38. Brig AM Sharma
  39. Brig Virendra Kumar Bajaj
  40. Brig Anil Bhat
  41. Brig SK Jandial
  42. Brig Ali Adil Mahmood, VSM
  43. Brig RJS Dhillon, YSM, VSM
  44. Brig AN Suryanarayanan
  45. Brig MJ Jacob, SM
  46. Col Dinesh Kumar
  47. Col Pavan Nair, VSM
  48. Col Shashi Thomas
  49. Col Ashwin Baindur
  50. Col Ajay Dabholkar
  51. Col RK Minocha
  52. Col Rajendra Bhaduri
  53. Col VK Rajendran
  54. Col Vinay Kumta
  55. Col A K Moghe
  56. Col Ronnie Burjor Mistry
  57. Col Vivek Bopiah
  58. Col Ajay Kumar Dewan
  59. Col Manduvanda Lava Cheeyanna
  60. Col Sunil Datt
  61. Col Manmohan Singh
  62. Col Esmond Jules Sanchis
  63. Col Sharath Bhat
  64. Col Raghu Akella, VSM
  65. Col Rajive Kohli
  66. Col Vivek Bhatt
  67. Col Swaran Singh Pathania
  68. Col CK Roy
  69. Col VR Menon
  70. Capt (IN) Subbarao Prabhala,VSM
  71. Capt (IN) AK Kalia
  72. Capt (IN) Paul Abraham
  73. Gp Capt BC Christopher
  74. Gp Capt Philips Jacob, VM
  75. Lt Col Vijay N Kharkar
  76. Lt Col Johnson Thomas
  77. Lt Col Shubeg Singh Gill
  78. Lt Col VC Alexander
  79. Lt Col Riyaz Khan
  80. Lt Col A K Suri
  81. Lt Col Niraj Pant
  82. Lt Col Aditya Parida
  83. Lt Col Arun Rao, SM
  84. Lt Col Hasan Muzaffar, SM
  85. Lt Col TL Sharma
  86. Lt Col Avinash Karnik
  87. Lt Col JE Premkumar
  88. Cdr A Vibhuti
  89. Cdr S Viswanathan
  90. Cdr A Abraham
  91. Cdr MV Cherukoth
  92. Cdr Ravindra P Varma
  93. Cdr MM Pareek
  94. Cdr CR Babu
  95. Cdr Arvind Poothia
  96. Cdr Karunesh Kaushik
  97. Cdr Dipak D Naik
  98. Cdr John Philipose
  99. Cdr Tom Joseph
  100. Wg Cdr A S Joshi (Retd)
  101. Wg Cdr Rakesh Sant
  102. Wg Cdr Vinod Nebb, VrC**
  103. Wg Cdr Mohammad Sufiyan Khan
  104. Wg Cdr Bertrand Joseph Vaz
  105. Maj Priyadarshi Chowdhury, SC
  106. Maj Jasbeer Singh, SM
  107. Maj Vijay Sharma
  108. Maj MG Devasahayam
  109. Maj AA Khan
  110. Lt Cdr Harbans Singh Dhillon
  111. Lt Cdr Rajender Singh Bajwa
  112. Capt JJ Alfred Rajasekaran
  113. Flt Lt Rajiv Tyagi
  114. Lt (IN) Sandhya Suri
  115. Hony Lt (IN) DN Singh, MSM
  116. Hony Lt (IN) Tilak Raj Sharma
  117. Sergeant Sunil Rao
  118. Sergeant Mandetira N Subramani
  119. Sergeant Joginder Singh
  120. Sergeant Irshad Shaikh