Antony ‘sorry & sad’ over Army Chief age row

Defence Minister AK Antony said on Friday that he is saddened by the way the issue is played up by the media despite the government maintaining ‘maximum restraint’.

Updated: Jan 20, 2012, 12:59 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Reacting for the first time on the row over Gen VK Singh’s age, Defence Minister AK Antony said on Friday that he is saddened by the way the issue is played up by the media despite the government maintaining ‘maximum restraint’.

During an interaction with the Defence Minister, a reporter asked Antony as to why the government allowed the age row to linger on for over seven months? In response, Antony said, “You know my position, I am always against public controversy on this issue, but, unfortunately, some of you (media) are celebrating this…it is not my fault. This is not an issue for celebration.”
“I feel sorry and sad about the whole controversy, that’s why in spite of being misunderstood I kept silent. I believe that this is an issue which can’t be decided on public platform or public debate,” he added.

“Our government is keeping maximum restraint and patience because this type of issue can’t be dealt in a sensational manner as it is a sensitive matter. Ours is a great democracy, there are constitutional forums to question the decisions of the government…now the case is before the highest court of India let us wait for the final verdict,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL filed by the Grenadier’s Association in support of Gen Singh which sought a direction to the government to take Genreal Singh’s year of birth as 1951 and not 1950.

The court said that there is no need for a parallel PIL as it is already hearing the petition filed by Gen Singh on the issue.

Gen Singh has maintained that it is not a matter of tenure but one of ‘honour and dignity’.