Hundreds of veterans rally against ‘intolerant hooliganism’ by Sena ‘criminals’
New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS): Hundreds of veterans including a Retired Air Chief Marshal, 3 Retired Vice Admirals and 5 Air Marshals have jointly come out in support of Navy veteran Madan Sharma, who was recently beaten up by goons allegedly from the ruling Shiv Sena, for forwarding a cartoon of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
“We, the veteran officers of Armed Forces of India, are the proud citizens of India who have, with extreme bravery, protected our nation throughout its history. It is unbelievably shocking, and categorically unacceptable for the veterans of Armed Forces of India, to suffer as helpless victims of hooliganism in Mumbai, as has been experienced in the case of Navy Veteran Madan Sharma, having been brutally beaten up for a triviality by Shiv Sena activists, causing grievous injuries, trauma and loss of honour to the Veteran at his Mumbai residential complex,” said a statement signed by hundreds of veterans. 321 of their names have already been compiled and the veterans claim there are more.
The statement has been also signed by 31 retired Lieutenant Generals, 44 retired Major Generals, 38 retired Brigadiers and 40 retired Commodore rank officers. Retired Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Naik, retired Vice Admirals Shekhar Sinha, AR Karve and JS Bedi are some of the signatories.
They asked the society to “remember” the service of the Armed Force veterans, while urging to renew “nationalist spirit” to respect the solemn obligations to them. “They have sacrificed their everything in their youth so that all Indians can live safely and prosper in their lives. We must ensure the dignity, honour and safety of these veterans and commit to make it the highest priority for every Indian national,” they said. They added that after the gallantry with which all of them fought, they should not have to face such “dastardly physical attacks” as Madan Sharma had suffered.
Calling it “intolerant hooliganism”, the veterans also hit out at the Shiv Sena. “The very fact that all the criminals who attacked the Armed Forces Veteran Madan Sharma, including the chief of the local unit of Shiv Sena, have been bailed out within no time, adds insult to injury. It is unbelievable that the Mumbai Police investigation as well as the Maharashtra government prosecutors took this serious matter so casually that there has not been even a semblance of justice in this case,” they complained.
They said that justice has been denied in this case, “in an organised conspiracy to attack and degrade Armed Forces veterans and their families” by allegedly playing “soft upon the criminals on account of their political affiliations.”