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New Delhi: In an example of the ability of Hindutva militants to impose their anti-Muslim agenda on even the Indian Army, the official Twitter handle of the military’s public relations officer (PRO) for Jammu deleted a tweet about an iftar event the army had organised after being criticised a right-wing television anchor for posting it.
On April 20, the Twitter handle of the public relations officer (PRO) for Jammu, Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand, had posted a series of images of the army’s iftar in Doda district, writing, “Keeping alive the traditions of #secularism, an iftar was organised by the #IndianArmy at Arnora in #Doda district. #Ramadan.”
Targeting the tweet the next day, Sudarshan News chief Suresh Chavhanke wrote in Hindi, “Now this disease has entered the Indian Army too? Sad.”
Soon after Chavhanke’s tweet, the PRO deleted the tweet and has not issued any statement on the matter since.
अब यह बीमारी भारतीय सेना में भी घुस गईं हैं? दुःखद … https://t.co/AiRkdLUUBl
— Suresh Chavhanke “Sudarshan News” (@SureshChavhanke) April 21, 2022
Several Twitter users took note of the PRO’s actions, with journalist Man Aman Singh Chhina saying, “The last bastion of secularism is tottering.”
PRO Defence Jammu choses to delete the tweet on secularism, which had photographs of Iftaar organised by Indian Army in Doda during Ramazan, after Sudarshan TV Editor Suresh Chavhanke hit out at the Army on twitter over the event.
The last bastion of secularism is tottering. pic.twitter.com/3AoZtICvSg
— Man Aman Singh Chhina (@manaman_chhina) April 23, 2022
The tweet by PRO defence jammu has been deleted. Army is now afraid of Chavhanke? https://t.co/EVVGd0s7Wa
— sah3b (@sahebabdullah) April 23, 2022
Very sad to see the Indian Army @prodefencejammu bow down to a known hate-monger Suresh Chavhanke?
Why did PRO Defence Jammu delete the tweet on celebrating Ramadan with locals which a usual affair in J&K since decades?
— alt kashmir (@alt_kashmir) April 23, 2022
Reacting to Chavhanke’s criticism, a former major general in the army, Yash Mor, tweeted: “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!”
Chavhanke himself is notorious for his communal rhetoric and anti-Muslim hate speeches. He is currently caught up in the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) for making such remarks at an event organised by the Hindu Yuva Vahini in December last year, wherein he called upon Hindus to “fight, die, kill” to make India a Hindu nation.
Most recently, Chavhanke spoke as the ‘chief guest’ at the Hindu Mahapanchayat in Delhi’s Burari, where five journalists (four of whom were Muslim) were attacked by the Hindu attendees.
Following the incident, Chavhanke was named in a first information report (FIR) filed by the Delhi Police, as was controversial Hindu priest Yati Narsinghanand and the Mahapanchayat’s organiser, Preet Singh.