The Defence Ministry spokesperson, Swarnashree Rao Rajashekar, was sent on a two week leave just few hours after a tweet was posted from the official account handle of Defence Spokesperson, criticising former Indian Navy Chief Arun Prakash over military officers abusing their privileges.
“What about 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 on government vehicles. And endless parties…who pays for that?” the tweet said.
Swarnashree Rao Rajashekar vs Former Navy Chief Arun Prakash
The controversy actually began on Thursday, when someone questioned whether a civilian officer at Chandimandir-based Western Command could fly the formation’s flag on his car.
Responding to this question, Admiral Arun Prakash, a war hero and naval aviator tweeted, ”Even if misuse of an Army Command’s insignia by a civilian is not a cognisable offence, the person needs to be reprimanded”.’
It was then that Rajashekar replied from the official handle, which sparked a controversy.
The tweet was later deleted amid the outrage it had triggered but users had already taken screenshots and widely shared them.
While many felt offended and reacted promptly to Rajashekar’s post, Former Navy Chief Arun Prakash chose not to respond to the spokesperson’s rude reply to him and instead urged the ministry to “reflect” on the state of civil-military relations.
Meanwhile, Indian Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand has taken over as the ministry’s officiating spokesperson.