It was shocking to see a national daily referring to a martyr stupid; yes, that is the word that is used! Let me reply to you Mr. Editor point by point, to tell you why you were utterly wrong, insensible, callous and ungrateful.
Let me first introduce to you Lt Col Niranjan if you do not know him close enough. He was in the Indian Army for about 12 years. His friends remember, he always used to go ‘by the book’ on duty. He was in the NSG for around two years were he has undergone specialized training of the most advanced Bomb disposal techniques available in our country. Further he has completed a course in the same field in the United States with the US Army last year, probably the best one can get in the whole world.
Mr. Editor, you said Lt Col Niranjan ‘during the combing operation to clear the area of explosives, was not wearing a blast shield uniform’. Were you an eyewitness to the operation? Probably no! If yes, what you should have done first is to give your statement to the enquiry team. If not, the least you could have done was to keep shut. But in either case, Mr. Editor, you have no right whatsoever to call a martyr stupid based on your speculations and things without any proof!
You said Lt Col Niranjan ‘fell victim to a simple booby trap planted by the terrorists’. When did booby traps become simple. Have you actually seen one? Probably no! You can tell me whatever number of ways to activate a booby trap; I will tell you equally more number of ways for the same. Probably you do not know that it can be activated by a person’s heartbeat close by, by light, by sound, by shade, by time…. But Mr. Editor, you have no right whatsoever to call a martyr stupid on a subject you have no clue of!
You said, Lt Col Niranjan ‘also chose not to use specialized equipment like remote-controlled robots to move a dead body’. Do you even know how a terrorist attack site looks like. One cannot make out whether a person is a friend or foe, whether a body on ground is dead or alive. But Mr. Editor, you have no right whatsoever to call a martyr stupid for split second decisions taken by a soldier on warfront based on countless variables!
You said, ‘a life was lost and serious injuries took place because of the fact that a lieutenant colonel went into an operation without following the required safeguards’. Do you have any idea of how many lives he have saved in so many operations in his illustrious career of about 12 years, including Bangalore, Kashmir through the length and breadth of this country. Probably no! But Mr. Editor, you have no right whatsoever to call a martyr stupid who fell in line of duty spanning a dozen years were each of his operation was life threatening!
You said, ‘officers (are in) their persistent pursuit of their own interests’. Do you call sacrificing ones life for the nation ‘pursuit of own interest’? If yes, then that is what Indian Army is made of. If no, then you may write one more editorial to explain what is that in this specific case. But Mr. Editor, you have no right whatsoever to call a martyr stupid.
You said, ‘the impression gaining ground is that the entire defence top brass, from the defence minister downwards, is involved in an attempt to cover up the lapses’. That is your ‘impression’; nobody can help if you have such an impression. But Mr. Editor, what ever be it, you have no right whatsoever to call a martyr stupid, because you had a bad impression in your mind.
Now let me give you the advantage of doubt and accept for a while that what you said was right and Lt Col Niranjan made a mistake. Can you say that you have not made a single mistake in your life? Probably no! That is the difference between a soldier and any body else. When you make a mistake in your newspaper you can give a correction the next day (which I am sure you would have done!), but a soldier pays with his own life. In any case, you have no right to call a martyr stupid, even if he made a mistake in his decision.
Last and most important, you said, ‘an officer like Niranjan should be taken to task even after his death, so that an example is set for others not to break discipline and risk lives’.
Let my countrymen decide who should be taken to task, the heartless and ignorant you or the brave soldier who laid down his life for idiots like you who couldn’t wait to pass judgments for an enquiry to happen………
Let my countrymen decide who is stupid, the merciless and ungrateful you or the brave soldier who fell in the line of duty…….
(For anyone interested in reading what this article actually read like, they may do it here at the following link,
And Mr. Editor, if you do not know about him, this article in DC who witnessed him in action in Bangalore a year ago speaks volumes about the valour and bravery of the officer.
Addendum: The least you and your newspaper can do now is to apologize to the departed soul whom you have insensibly insulted, to his family who is still trying to cope with the irrecoverable loss and to this entire nation on whom you have brought disgrace, through your childish article…..