‘Know Limits of Office’: Owaisi, Others Slam Rawat for CAA Remark

“Leaders are not those who lead people towards inappropriate things,” he said of anti-CAA protests roiling India.

Updated
India
2 min read

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Thursday, 26 December, that “leaders who lead people in inappropriate directions are not leaders,” referencing the ongoing student protests in different parts of the country against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Rawat said leadership is not about guiding masses, including students, to carry out arson and violence – remarks that drew sharp reactions from the opposition.

“As we are witnessing, in a large number of university and college students, the way they are leading masses of crowds to carry out arson and violence in our cities and towns. This is not leadership.”
Bipin Rawat, Army Chief

The comment was made during his speech at the Six Sigma Star Healthcare Summit in Delhi.

He further said, "A leader is one person who leads you in the correct direction. Gives you the right advice and then ensures that you care for the people you love."

‘Army Chief’s Comments a Sharp Departure from Convention’

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said leadership is about knowing the limits of one's office. "It is about understanding the idea of civilian supremacy and preserving the integrity of the institution that you head," according to PTI.

“Whatever the Army chief says it is undermining the Modi Government. It is undermining their government," he said. "If, whatever Army chief says is true, then I want to ask the government, our Prime Minister writes in his website that he participated in the struggle during the Emergency as a student... according to him (Rawat) that is also wrong,” he added, PTI reported.

The opposition party, including the Congress, attacked Gen Rawat, who is due to retire on 31 December as Army Chief, for making remarks on political issues, PTI reported.

"I agree with him. Yes, leaders should lead (people) in the appropriate direction. I am absolutely sure, he has the prime minister of this country in mind when talking about that," said rights activist Yogendra Yadav.

Yadav said Gen Rawat's comments on politics is a sharp departure from the convention of the Indian Army in the last 70 years. "This used to happen in Pakistan and Bangladesh."

Congress Spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa too slammed Gen Rawat for his remarks.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh also tweeted, ":eaders Not Those Who Lead Masses In Arson": Army Chief On Citizenship Protests. I agree General Saheb but also Leaders are not those who allow their followers to indulge in genocide of communal violence. Do you agree with me General Saheb?"

Historian Ramchandra Guha tweeted his response in the form of a fact-check.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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