Army Chief says students leading crowds for arson, violence is not leadership

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Students leading crowds to carry out arson and violence is not leadership, outgoing Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat said on Thursday, in an apparent reference to the protests across the country against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

It is unusual for a serving Army Chief to comment on the country’s internal affairs, which are the domain of the civilian government and the remarks drew sharp criticism on the social media and from political parties.

“Leaders are not those people who lead people in inappropriate directions, as we are witnessing in a large number of university and college students, the way they are leading masses of crowds to carry out arson and violence in our cities and towns. This is not leadership,” he said at an event in the national capital.

Leadership, he said, was all about leading and the complex thing about it was “when you move forward, everybody follows.” “Even amongst the crowd you find leaders… But leaders are those who lead people in the right direction.”

It appeared simple but was not that simple. It was a very complex phenomenon. “Even amongst the crowd you find leaders… But leaders are those who lead people in the right direction,” he said.

Gen. Rawat, who is set to superannuate as the Army Chief on December 31, is a front runner for the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) post, the creation of which was approved by the Union Cabinet on Tuesday. Vice-Chief of the Army Staff M.M. Naravane has been named as the next Chief of the Army Staff.

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