Not a verdict on soldier’s honour | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Not a verdict on soldier’s honour

It is certainly alarming when a soldier trained to die for his country gets arrested on charges of terrorism. Yet the first ever arrest of a serving army officer in the Malegaon blasts case cannot be regarded as a taint on the military as a whole, reports Rahul Singh.

delhi Updated: Nov 06, 2008 02:41 IST

It is certainly alarming when a soldier trained to die for his country gets arrested on charges of terrorism. Yet the first ever arrest of a serving army officer in the Malegaon blasts case cannot be regarded as a taint on the military as a whole.

Lt Col Srikant Purohit’s alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts is at worst an embarrassing aberration. It does not compromise the honour of our 1.13 million-strong fighting force.

“It’s a matter of serious concern. But the very fact that this is the first such case in the military’s history establishes the credibility of our rigorous selection system,” said a senior officer at army headquarters, requesting anonymity. “It is unrealistic to expect the army to have control over the psyche of individuals.”

There have been several instances of army officers being involved in offences such as espionage, sex abuse, arms smuggling and corruption. But the terror charge is the most shameful for an organisation that values the traditions of loyalty, discipline and sacrifice. “The officer does not stand for the entire army,” said former army chief General V.P. Malik. But significantly, he added: “This unsavory episode should set alarm bells ringing.”

A hardcore infantry officer, Purohit learnt his trade at the National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla. Sources said he was commissioned in the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles before switching to military intelligence.

Army headquarters sources said the force was willing to share Purohit’s service dossier with the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, if such a request was made, to help the progress of investigations. “If there’s muck around, we too want it cleared. But investigators should not jump to hasty conclusions,” said one of them.

For a force that prides itself on being apolitical, it is however, disconcerting to find a member having links with right-wing terror.