UPDATED: January 20, 2021 11:26 IST
The Indian Army has asked veterans not to don uniforms or pin medals on their chest while attending the ongoing farmers’ protest.
In a letter to the Kendriya Sainik Board, the Army reiterated the rules regarding the wearing of uniforms.
Sources said that the Army uniform can only be worn during official functions and not while attending a public gathering or protests.
Earlier, some of the protesters were seen wearing uniforms, prompting the Army to issue advisory reiterating the rules.
The Army said that there needs to be awareness among the fraternity of ex-servicemen with regard to provisions of wearing of uniforms by non-effective personnel.
Regarding serving soldiers from Sikh and Punjab regiments, troops have been sensitised not to be part of such protests as per existing norms.
There were some instances when personnel, who were on leave, went to protest sites and videos were filmed.
“At the unit level, troops have been sensitised about these issues. As uniformed personnel, they cannot be part of such protests,” said an official.
Earlier, a video of a person in a uniform at the farmers’ protest had gone viral, sparking speculation that serving personnel were part of the protest, but the person turned out to be an ex-serviceman.
Since a majority of the protestors are from Punjab, there has been a concern that personnel from Sikh-dominated regiments of the Army could also be drawn towards the protests.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana have been protesting over the Centre’s three farm laws at Delhi’s borders for over 50 days now, demanding the repeal of the farm laws and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price for crops.
They claim that the new laws would weaken the MSP system. But the Centre says the MSP system will remain and the new laws only provide more options for farmers to sell their produce.
Farmer unions will hold the 10th round of talks with the Centre on Wednesday in Delhi, a week ahead of the mega tractor rally planned by the protesting farmers on Republic Day.