Disgusted with government policies and practices with respect to armed forces, Suresh D Karnik, hero of 1971 war, declines an invitation to attend a function in Pune to be attended by Defense Manohar Parrikar and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis
Pune/Nagpur: Veteran Wing Commander Suresh Damodar Karnik did not attend a function held today, on 28th May ,in the presence of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. He had earlier politely declined the invitation to register his protest against repeated assurances by PM, Modi and Parrikar both made in the past year to implement the one ‘one rank , one pension’ scheme. This scheme had been cleared by UPA Defence Minister Antony after a lot of perusal by Armed forces and just some formalities are left, which are not being cleared.
“We have been waiting, and waiting and waiting… I am already 80 years old, how much longer do I have to wait to get what is legitimately owed to me?” Asked an exasperated Wing Commander Karnik while speaking to Times Now some time ago.
When Modi did not mention tany action on this at the large rally he held in Mathura two days ago to commemmorate one year in office, it was the last straw for the expectant Army officers, retired as well as serving.
There is a real risk that officers of all three services would get together and decide on some way to express dissent. They could also go on strike.
In an email reply to Dr Purandare, Wing Commander Karnik, a recipient of the Vir Chakra for his role in the 1971 War, had said, “We are unable to accept the invite as we find that in the present dispensation our respected political leaders seem to pursue a Policy towards the Armed Forces which imbibes ‘NATO’ as our India Policy viz ‘NO ACTION TALK ONLY’.”
“Alongside the Babus who formulate, guide, decide on behalf of our national leaders seem to be pursuing a policy of inching towards making Defence Forces into a Defiant Force. Being a diehard Nationalist Indian I strongly oppose the above stated Policies,” he said.
Wing Commander Karnik was a combat fighter pilot during his service in the Indian Air Force (IAF) and participated in several wars and battles. His sorties included ‘beyond the call of duty’ missions in life threatening environments in combat zones against enemies.
During the operations against Pakistan in December 1971, (the then) Squadron Leader Suresh Damodar Karnik served as a flight commander of a bomber squadron, the No. 16 Squadron, know as Black Cobras of the IAF. He flew six very important and difficult missions, by day as well as by night, in the Western and Eastern Sectors. These missions involved day and night bombing raids over enemy airfields and interdiction of enemy boats by day. The interdiction missions were flown against a large volume of flak, resulting in damage to his aircraft by enemy fire. Despite this, he pressed home his attacks and destroyed a number of enemy boats. He also carried out a day bombing raid over Chittagong airfield in the face of heavy antiaircraft fire. During this mission, he bombed and destroyed a large oil dump.
For this act, Wing Commander Suresh Karnik was awarded the Vir Chakra, the third in precedence in the wartime gallantry awards, which comes after the Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra.
It may be recalled that last Diwali itself, Modi had promised to act on the long standing demand of the forces. But no action has been forthcoming.