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Stop Army bashing in public: Malik

The former Army chief is angry over a BJP leader's reaction to the Vice Chief's remarks about women in armed forces.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2006 23:07 IST

Taking exception to a BJP leader's comments in the wake of the alleged suicide by a woman Army officer recently, former Army chief Gen VP Malik has said politicians should "stop playing political football" with the armed forces and give due respect to them.

"In no other democracy of the world would politicians have spoken the language that was used here after the (alleged) suicide case. In particular, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj's comments demanding sacking of the Vice Chief of Army Staff were completely wrong. Politicians should immediately stop playing political football with the armed forces," he said.

Five days after the alleged suicide by Lt Shushmita Chakraborty in Udhampur, Vice Chief of the Army Lt Gen S Pattabhiraman had on June 20 tendered an apology saying he had "personal commitment and healthy respect towards the role of lady officers in the Army".

Pattabhiraman's remarks earlier in a leading newspaper that the Army could do without its women officers and that "comfort level with women officers was low" had sparked protests from women's groups, including the National Commission for Women, and main opposition BJP which had demanded his suspension.

"Even if the Vice Chief has spoken something which was wrong, it was required of the political class that they should have asked the Defence Minister to seek a clarification from the Army, but to score political points, some of these leaders resorted to bashing of armed forces in public, which was the last thing they should have done," Malik told BBC's "Aapki baat BBC ke saath".