Former Navy chief, Admiral (Retd) Arun Prakash
Former Navy chief, Admiral (Retd) Arun Prakash

MoD spokesperson taunts former Navy chief on Twitter, apologises later

ANI | Updated: Oct 26, 2018 16:51 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct 26 (ANI): A war of words broke out on social media after an "inadvertent" post by the spokesperson for Ministry of Defence (MoD) upset serving and non-serving officers of the Indian defence forces. The spokesperson for MoD, however, later withdrew her tweet and apologised for the "inadvertent" post on the official handle of the MoD's Twitter handle in which she appeared to be attacking the former Navy chief, Admiral (Retd) Arun Prakash for the privileges that top military brass enjoys.
It all started when on Friday morning spokesperson for Ministry of Defence (MoD), Swarnashree Rao Rajshekhar, responded to a retweet by former Navy Chief, Admiral Prakash highlighting the misuse of flags by civilian officers. This tweet had a visual of a car having the flag of Internal Financial Advisor (IFA) attached to Indian Army's Western Command. Since bureaucrats are not entitled to such privilege reserved only for top military brass, the visual went viral on social media.
While retweeting the picture, Admiral Prakash wrote, "Even if misuse of an Army Command's insignia is not a cognizable offence, the person needs to be reprimanded by the GOCinC whole Financial Advisor he is."

Responding to Admiral Prakash's tweet, Rajshekhar wrote back to India's one of the most decorated officer: "What about the misuse of jawans in your residence during an officer's tenure sir? And how about children being picked up and dropped to school in Fauji gaadis? Not to forget Madam's shopping expedition, in government vehicle. And endless parties...who pays for that?"
The post ignited strong reactions from people on the social media including military veterans who felt that Rajshekhar's tweet reflected "a deep-rooted and twisted anti-armed forces mindset that prevails in MoD" and bureaucracy.
The post also caught the eye of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who called for Rajshekhar's sacking. "U need to be more than worst insensitive bureaucrat to tweet like this -- u need to be a world class IDIOT who should be sent back to paper pushing or whatever his/her life's achievement is so far and NOT destroy goodwill n respect for PM and govt which has done so much for our Armed forces," Chandrasekhar said while venting out anger on Twitter. The MP even tagged Defence Minister and her deputy urging them to remove the officer and initiate an inquiry.

Facing flak from all sides, Rajshekhar later deleted her post and apologised. "I had received a forward on the Whatsapp which while forwarding it to a group by mistake got posted on the ministry's official Twitter handle. I have deleted that tweet and have also apologised to the officer," Rajshekhar told ANI.
Admiral Arun Prakash too tried to tone down the anger against the bureaucrat saying: "Rather than getting excited over indiscreet tweet of @SpokespersonMoD I would suggest sober reflection; (a) by MoD on state of civil-mil (military) relations & (b) by Military Leadership on the aspersions cast by MoD (IDAS?) civil-servant on personal conduct of Service officers."(ANI)