Leadership is not leading people to violence: Army chief on CAA

Leaders emerge from crowds but are not those who lead people in "inappropriate directions", added the Army chief, General Bipin Rawat, while addressing a gathering at a health summit. Photo: PTI

It is not leadership if leaders guide masses, comprising university and college students, to carry out arson and violence in our cities, Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Thursday (December 26) while commenting on protests against the citizenship amendment act (CAA).

“Leaders emerge from crowds but are not those who lead people in inappropriate directions”, added the Army chief while addressing a gathering at a health summit here.
He said leaders are those who lead people in the right direction.

Several parts of the country have witnessed a spate of protests over CAA, many of which have turned violent. Incidentally, a lot of these demonstrations have taken place in several colleges and universities across the country.

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“Leadership is all about leading. Therefore, what is so complex about leadership if it is all about leading because when you move forward, everybody follows. It is not that simple,” the Army Chief said.”It appears simple but it is a complex phenomenon. Leaders are those who lead people in the right direction,” he added.

Gen Rawat is tipped to be India’s first Chief of Defence Staff who will be the single-point military adviser to the government on tri-services matters. In his three-year tenure as Army Chief, he faced allegations of not remaining politically neutral. Since both houses of Parliament approved amendments to the citizenship law earlier this month, protests – sometimes violent – have taken place across the country and casualties have been reported, especially from Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.

The army chief will be retiring on December 31 has garnered criticism for his comments on CAA by the opposition parties who deemed the comment to be ‘too political’.

“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. He said Gen Rawat’s comments on politics is a sharp departure from the convention of the Indian Army in the last 70 years.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh also tweeted, “leaders 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?”

Brijesh Kalappa, Congress spokesperson in a tweet said, Army Chief should not be talking against political protests as it is against the constitutional democracy.

Asaduddin Owaisi, Hyderabad MP and chief of the AIMIM crtisicing Rawat’s comment tweeted:

(With input from agencies.)

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