On June 2, prominent Bengali scholar Partha Chatterjee stirred a controversy by comparing Indian Army Chief Major General Bipin Rawat to British General Reginald Dyer, infamous for organising the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
In a controversial article on the website The Wire, he wrote, “But careful and detached reflection will show chilling similarities between the justifications advanced for the actions of the British Indian Army in Punjab in 1919 and those being offered today, nearly a century later, in defence of the acts of the Indian Army in Kashmir.”
In case you need to brush up your history, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on April 13, 1919, when peaceful protesters, along with Baisakhi pilgrims, were subjected to unprovoked firing by the British Indian Army troops, commanded by Colonel Reginald Dyer.
This article by Chatterjee came after General Rawat came to the rescue of Major Gogoi over the human shield issue and said such ‘innovative’ ways are required to counter the dirty war underway in Kashmir. Drawing a comparison, the article argues that Dyer had also justified his action as needed in the line of duty.
Many on social media, especially Army officers trashed the article expressing shock at such an inappropriate comparison and also called out The Wire for publishing this piece.
“Shocking comparison to Imperial Army, blame media house for publishing it”, says Gen VP Malik on #DyerWire— Republic (@republic) June 5, 2017
Such despicable comments!! Only a bigot or an anti national can make such comparison!! Shame on you for being an Indian !!— Indrajeet Narayan (@indernarayan) June 5, 2017
Wires propaganda peddling shows the desperation of its politics not getting traction India remains too soft against Pak proxies in J&k— drushan (@drushan) June 5, 2017
Pakistans mouthpiece begging for attention with basless and illetrate argument.— Shivam 🇮🇳 (@shivam7066) June 5, 2017
He must be Ideologically Sick,the hunger of limelight is so huge that he doesn’t lament nicknamicking protector of our motherland to a Vilan— Pradeep Gupta (@Pra_kn) June 6, 2017
However, despite criticism, a defiant Chatterjee on Monday said he stands by what he wrote and will not change his opinion.
If i need to clarify or change anything then I will write again.Stand by what i wrote: Partha Chatterjee on his Army Chief-Gen Dyer article pic.twitter.com/0teJCGbCEe— ANI (@ANI_news) June 6, 2017
There were many who supported his views and came forward in his defense
Meanwhile, BJP has rubbished the article saying Chatterjee was trying to gain publicity by indulging in such acts.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told DNA, ”As far as the issue of Partha Chatterjee is concerned, it is really abhorring and appalling that Indian Army Chief is compared with General Dyer. Do these people not see the basic difference? One (General Dyer) was a killer who massacred innocent Indians and the other one (Indian Army) is savior of humanity.”