Bengaluru, Jan 8: Six days after Pathankot terror attack, in which 7 soldiers sacrificed their lives while serving their motherland, an op-ed published in Kolkata-based news daily has questioned the martyrdom of Lt Col EK Niranjan, sole officer to have died in the operation.
On Thursday, Jan 7, The Telegraph published an editorial titled 'Martyr's rites' questioning the death of Lt Col EK Niranjan during the battle with terrorists holed inside the Pathankot airbase.
The editorial said Lt Col Niranjan lost his life due to his 'carelessness and lack of discipline'.
The post not only blamed Lt Col Niranjan, who died in the line of duty, but also held him responsible for injuring other jawans during the terror attack.
The op-ed went on asking prickly questions like:
Does Niranjan deserve to be Honoured?
Why Lt Col Niranjan went on to diffuse the bomb without following certain safeguards?
Why did Niranjan "chose" not to use specialized equipment like remote-controlled robots to move a dead body?
What all The Telegraph op-ed says?
A soldier or an army officer can actually die while doing his duty. But do all army personnel who die while doing their duty deserve to be treated like martyrs?
The death of EK Niranjan, a lieutenant colonel in the Indian army, during the operation in Pathankot is a case in point. He is the only officer to have died in the operation.
Niranjan was the head of the bomb squad, but during the combing operation to clear the area of explosives, he was not wearing a blast-shield uniform.
He fell victim to a simple booby trap planted by the terrorists. Niranjan also chose not to use specialized equipment like remote-controlled robots to move a dead body.
Owing to this act of bravado, or stupidity, he lost his own life and had five of the soldiers with him seriously injured.
Yet the last rites of Niranjan were performed with full State honours, with thousands paying their respects to him. No one is asking the question: does he deserve to be honoured?
Op-ed irks many on social media:
The op-ed has infuriated many and people took to social media to criticise opinion. People term the op-ed published in the news daily has disrespected the sacrifice of the brave soldier.
An Indian Army fan page also posted saying, "editorial team of The Telegraph is unapologetic. Members of the martyrs' funeral pyres hasn't cooled yet. Imagine the families of the martyrs reading a newspaper asking them to be disrespected & treated as criminals."
Here are some of tweets: