December 8, 2014
Northern Army Commander Lt General DS Hooda on Sunday wrote to officers and men of the army's largest command, asking them to follow 'a nuanced approach' which 'balances local aspirations' to fight a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir.
Lt General Hooda's demi-official (DO) letter is being seen as a response to an anonymous WhatsApp message that spread like wildfire through army circles on December 6, a day after six Pakistani infiltrators attacked an army unit in Uri. Eight army personnel including a Lt Colonel and three policemen were killed in the pre-dawn attack on an army unit.
The message, purportedly written by junior officers, berated the Army Commander and the 15 Corps Commander for terming 'a mistake' the November 4 killing of two civilians including a 14-year-old boy by the Army in Anantnag; Lt General Hooda's statement 'had given a wrong message to commanders down the line'. 'And the result is what happened at Uri, the other day. Should not the Army Cdr and Corps cdr consider resigning for this goof up.'
Lt General Hooda's asks his commanders to change operations in sync with the conditions, focus on 'training and education of officers and men to drive home the circumstances and the conditions in which we operate and our code of conduct.'
He warned against falling prey to 'print, electronic and social media 'which sway not only public opinion but also the sentiments of our own officers and men'. The only way to counter this is by our own courage of conviction that what we are doing is professionally correct and honorable.
Earlier, the December 6 message was countered by another anonymous WhatsApp message which blamed the unit for failing to stop the terrorists. 'To link this failure with the caution put in place after the shooting of youngsters at roadcheck in Budgam is far fetched and mischievious. The two failures cannot be linked to gain mileage and malign senior leadership of the Army in the garb of venting of anger by young officers' the message said.