'Gen V K Singh Should Have Been Sacked on Age Issue'
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In a scathing attack on V K Singh's recent comments on Kashmir, former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha today expressed the opinion that the former Army Chief should have been sacked when he took Government to court over the age issue.

87-year-old Sinha, who served the militancy-hit state between 2003 and 2008, was candid in his remark that Singh had "brought disrepute to the Indian Army, an organisation which is always known to be apolitical".

"I was surprised as well as pained to see when he (Gen Singh) dragged the government to court. No Chief in the world has ever gone to court challenging his government's decision. What he did at that point of time was against the tradition of the army. He should have been sacked on the same day," Gen Sinha told PTI.

Gen Sinha while referring to the controversy surrounding Gen Singh recalled how he had been superseded during the tenure of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and that there were a battery of lawyers who wanted to fight his case for free.

"I do not question the authority of the Government. I accept it. I have decided to fade away from the Army. Gen (A S) Vaidya is a friend of mine and a competent General. I am sure that the Indian Army will flourish under his leadership," Gen Sinha quoted his own statement that he had to issue after a heated debate in Parliament over his supersession.

About the claims made by the former Army Chief about funding of political activities in the state since Independence, Gen Sinha, who was former Army Vice Chief, shot back, "this is utter nonsense. This statement has damaged the image of the Army and also brought disrepute to it."

"What is more shocking that while internationally it has been acclaimed that democracy flourishes in Jammu and Kashmir, our own former Army Chief is there to tarnish the image of not only the Army but also the country as a whole," the former state Governor said while referring to the report of an European Union Parliamentarian Emma Nicholson.

The EU Parliamentarian had said in her report that while democracy flourishes in J and K, it is absent in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (POK) and human rights abuses and denial of democratic rights are on top in Gilgit and Baltistan.

"It has damaged the image of the Army. What good has it done by making such baseless allegations," Gen Sinha said.

Gen Sinha demanded that the need of the hour was for an "impartial, credible enquiry" into this and bring out facts.

"If Gen Singh has done wrong, he should be charged under the Army Act as he falls under Army Act upto two years after retirement," he said, adding if he or any civilian is proved to have leaked any top secret documents, he has violated the Officials Secrets Act.

He said that he has served the state as Governor and at no point of time any thing of this sort came to his notice that Army was funding political parties or NGOs.

"There has never been any instance of the army funding of any NGO or funding any political leader. Army funds are used for entirely different purposes," he said and added that the former Army Chief had provided fodder to Pakistan which may have the issue on top of its agenda when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York on September 29.

He said Singh's remarks has already seen separatists up in arms.

"I think it will be disastrous. Already the leader of Hurriyat Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said that this shows how the people of Kashmir have been subjugated and held under occupation in the sham name of democracy," the former Governor said.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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