NEW DELHI—A group of 120 retired officers from Indian Armed Forces have written a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting them to taken against a fake news circulating on the social media that the Indian Army’s Muslim regiment was disbanded because they had refused to fight against Pakistan in 1965 war.
Stating that the social media post insulting Muslim soldiers would affect the morale of the armed forces, they urged the President as well PM to order an immediate probe into it and also warn the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter against allowing such posts intended to fuel communal hatred in the country.
Pointing out that there was no Muslim Regiment in the Indian Army in 1965 or afterwards, the letter says that the tweets was meant to show that Muslim soldiers had their loyalties to Pakistan rather than India.
“These ‘Muslim Regiment’ posts are blatantly false, because the Indian Army did not have a Muslim Regiment in 1965 or since. Some senior ranking veterans have unequivocally pointed out the false nature of these posts. Veteran Lt Gen A A Husnain in his Times of India blog of 30 Nov 2017, statesthat this was not true, and was possibly part of Pskistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) psyops disinformation campaign”, the letter says.
The letter says that the falsehoods began in 2013 when @120croreHindus- ‘World Hindus United’ posted a tweet on May 19, 2013, stating “In 1965 there was a regiment in Indian Army called Muslim Regiment which refused to fight against Pakistan after which it was disbanded.”
“The tweet was meant to show that Muslim soldiers had their loyalties to Pakistan rather than India. The ‘Muslim Regiment’ post has been re-tweeted many times thereafter, and its insidious surfacing during the ongoing Chinese aggression, is certainly suspect”, the letter goes on to say.
Pointing out that “Muslims fighting as part of multi-class regiments proved their absolute commitment to the cause of our nation”, the letter pointed out about Muslim soldiers like Havildar Abdul Hamid, Lt Gen Mohammed Zaki and major Abdul Rafey Khan having been awarded for their valour in the war against Pakistan in 1965.
The letter also points out about Brig Mohammed Usman who died while fighting the Pakistani invasion in 1948 in Kashmir and was posthumously awarded Mahavir chakra for his gallantry. He lies buried in the Jamia Millia Islamia campus in Delhi.
“Saying that Muslim soldiers of this so-called ‘Muslim Regiment’ refused to fight the war against Pakistan in 1965 and hence, the Muslim regiment was disbanded, denigrates and questions the loyalty of all serving and retired Muslim soldiers. Further, it helps the enemy by striking at the morale of India’s soldiers to degrade their operational capability”, the letter says.
“When falsehoods like the ‘Muslim Regiment’ posts are repeated often as they have been, starting perhaps in 2013, the public assumes that it is the truth, especially when there is no official action against the perpetrators”, points out the letter.
The copies of the letter have also been forwarded to Vice-President of India, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India, Defence Minister, Union Minister of Home Affairs, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff.