But there is also growing resentment against such “ill-conceived and retrograde” directives. “How can the identity of each and every member of a WhatsApp group, like that of school alumni, be confirmed personally? It’s illogical. But the warning to exit such WhatsApp groups is quite explicit,” said a Brigadier.
“There is almost a sense of panic because our phones can be checked anytime. It has come down to officers, including senior ones, existing even cycling and golfing groups to be on the safer side. Some are thinking of quitting regimental groups since it also has veterans,” added a Captain.
As was earlier
by TOI, the Army’s directorate general of military operations has warned officers and soldiers in the around 13-lakh force against being part of large groups on WhatsApp and other social networking platforms, where the identity of some users is unknown.
The Army headquarters maintains the aim behind the two-page directive is to prevent personnel from getting “honey-trapped” or inadvertently leaking out information on their postings or troop movements that could be helpful to adversaries like Pakistan and China.
The armed forces have had to even court-martial a few officers over the last few years for posting “classified information” like the operational location of warships or battalions, as well as their patrolling patterns, on social networking websites.
But many officers allege the recent directive is more geared towards curbing criticism among serving personnel and veterans about policies being adopted by the Army headquarters, which have not gone down well in the ranks.
Veterans, in particular, have launched a fierce attack on the Army headquarters over the recent moves to tax disability pensions of soldiers as well as enforce a price cap on cars being bought from the subsidized Canteen Stores Department (CSD) as well as restrict their purchase to only once in eight years for serving and retired officers.
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