Force is conservative, says Gen. Rawat
Adultery and homosexuality have been decriminalised in the country by the Supreme Court, but the Army is “conservative” and they will not be allowed to “perpetuate into the Army,” Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Thursday.
“It is hard to argue in these times. But the armed forces find huge resonance in the conservative actions of our society. The Army is conservative. We have neither modernised nor Westernised… We can still take action against people. But we will not allow this to perpetuate into the Army. This cannot be allowed to happen. It is a very serious thing,” Gen. Rawat said at the annual press conference ahead of the Army Day on January 15. He said a soldier on the border could not be worried and he had to be “reasonably assured that his family is being cared for.”
Last year, the court decriminalised adultery as well as homosexuality.
It asked the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community to forgive history for their brutal suppression. However, there has been no clarity on how it would affect the Army, which punishes adultery for “stealing the affection of brother officer’s wife” and has a strict ‘no’ policy on homosexuality.
On homosexuality and LGBTs, too, Gen. Rawat said they were not acceptable in the Army and added, “We will still be dealing with them under various Sections of the Army Act.”
Stating that the Army is “certainly are not above the country’s law,” Gen. Rawat said that when one joined the Army, some of the rights and privileges authorised for civilians by the Constitution were not authorised for them [the Army]. “The Supreme Court has said something and we have to see how we take a call. Let us also see how this comes into the society,” he stated.
‘Talk of peace’
Responding to questions on the peace overtures made by the new government in Pakistan, Gen. Rawat said there was a lot of change, but they were yet to see results on the ground. “They talk of peace. On the ground, on the Line of Control (LoC), we don’t see it,” he said
In addition to the massive force restructuring being undertaken, Gen. Rawat identified personnel-related issues as priority areas for action, and said they, “haven’t done enough for our soldiers who have been genuinely disabled in the line of duty.”
Another issue is the disparity in the disability allowance between jawans and officers, or based on kinds of disabilities which he said has to be addressed. For this, the Army is looking at formulating a new disability policy, which Gen. Rawat said should be ready by mid-next year, after which it would be sent to the Defence Ministry for approval.
Asked about the politicisation of the armed forces, Gen. Rawat said that anything that concerns national security, one should be clear [whether] it’s politicisation or not, and added, “If Army gets involved in something that impacts internal security for which we are tasked, we are accused of being politicised.”
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