Army orders probe into Annadale statement

With the Himachal Pradesh CM taking an exception to it, Indian Army has ordered an inquiry into the "derogatory" press release on Annadale ground.

New Delhi: With the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister taking an exception to it, Indian Army has ordered an inquiry into the "derogatory" press release issued by its Western Command Headquarters against the state government over Annadale ground ownership controversy.

Insisting that the relationship between the force and the state government is very good, Army Chief General V K Singh also said he would speak to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister P K Dhumal over the issue.

"I will talk to the Chief Minister. Ours and the Chief Minister`s relationship is very good," Singh said when asked to comment on the row between Himachal Pradesh government and military over ownership of Annandale ground.

Singh said he has sought a report from the Western Command Headquarters over the statement issued by it.

"They (Western Command) have told us. They will rectify it and we have no problem with that," Singh said.

Ordering an inquiry, the Indian Army in a release said, "With regards to Annadale land issues, Army has instituted an inquiry into the Press Release issued by HQ Western Command, which was derogatory against the State Government and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh."

The 121-bigha ground, surrounded by thick forests just 4.5 km from Shimla`s Ridge, has been under the army`s control since World War II.

The area has become a bone of contention between the state government and the Army amid an intensified campaign launched by Himachal Pradesh Cricket association headed by Dhumal`s son and MP Anurag Thakur.

Thakur has been demanding restoration of the ground to the state authorities.

The row escalated after Army, in a statement yesterday, said national security cannot be ignored for "game and gimmicks".

After the Army`s statement, Himachal Chief Minister P K Dhumal had threatened to file a defamation suit against the Army if it did not tender an unconditional apology for allegedly maligning the image of the government and him in particular.


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