Former Chief of the Naval Staff L. Ramdas penned an open letter to President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 29, 2021 his deep concern and anguish regarding the turn of events on Republic Day.
Among a slew of grievances, the distinguished retired Admiral lamented the manner in which the peaceful and orderly farmers procession, comprising 90 percent of the protestors, was almost totally unreported in mainstream media on January 26 and January 27.
“What was reported and repeatedly shown on channels and in the print media too, was the incident of a flag being hoisted after the ‘occupation’ of the Lal Qila, by a small group of young men apparently led by one Deep Singh Sidhu. There were also false reports about the tricolour being brought down and displaced by a ‘religious’ flag,” said Ramdas in the letter.
As a service officer, Ramdas said he is aware of the adequate security arrangements at the Red Fort especially on days like August 15 and January 26. He argued that it is by no means easy or possible for any unauthorized person or group to climb right up to the space just below the ramparts. There are many barriers and gates to be negotiated on the way in which are kept locked.
“The Army battalion which is normally housed inside the Fort appeared to be missing ? Clearly this was a major security lapse and this needs an immediate and thorough inquiry to establish reasons for this serious breach of security,” he said.
He also blamed the media and certain government sources and political leaders for the one-sided narrative that resulted in open accusations of protestors insulting the Nation and the National Flag, inciting and indulging in violence, being anti-national and anti the Republic.
Ramdas expressed distress at the fact that a large number of FIRs were registered by the Delhi police against farmers, farmer leaders, well-known journalists and others on serious charges such as sedition.
The letter also acknowledged reports of apparent collusion by security forces, a small rebel farmer group and some individuals with high-level political connections to disrupt the farmers parade are serious security lapses. However, rather than blaming the farmers, Ramdas defended them.
“In an earlier message, I have also pointed out that in almost every Kisan home there is a Jawan, who guards the frontiers and returns to the land after his tour of duty. This relationship should never be forgotten. Antagonizing kisans and therefore jawans, can have serious fall outs and the implications on national security cannot be overlooked,” said Ramdas.
He stated that farmers are only requesting due consultations in matters concerning their livelihood; a consultation that was not done while making the three new farm laws. Moreover, he pointed out that farmers and agricultural experts alike, fear that the laws in their current form will favour corporate interests and go against the interests of the farmers.
As such he argued that the situation called for utmost sensitivity while listening to farmers demands regarding Minimum Support Price (MSP,) Mandi system and unfair pressure from very large private interests.
“Mr. President, as my Supreme Commander, I urge you again to kindly take note of the issues raised in this letter and to take action urgently on a matter which deserves utmost priority. Already over 170 farmers have laid down their lives for this cause over the last two months. “They have truly awakened the entire Nation,” he said.
Ramdas said that the official’s unique position allows him “to stem the tide of this terrible divide between kisans, jawans and our people” and so he should use his title to bring back justice and peace as a “great service to the people of this land and beyond.”
The complete letter may be viewed below:
His tears have re fuelled the revolution, we will win: farmers at Ghazipur border
Armed forces retract as protests soar at Ghazipur; Delhi police mulls UAPA
Farmers protest sites remain on high alert on Delhi borders
We stand unwaveringly with the farmers’ struggle: AIKSCC
Why did Delhi Police mislead us, not stop the outsiders who initially broke the
Attempt to vilify the farmers protests will create unhealthy atmosphere
Kisan Ganatantra Parade: How the mainstream media ignored ground realities
Deep Sidhu defends himself! Claims Red Fort was a result of public anguish