New Delhi: A Muslim religious teacher in the Army has triggered a controversy by claiming that he was censured for using the salutation 'Jai Hind' instead of 'Ram, Ram' and 'Jai Mata Di' but the force rubbished his claims.
Subedar Ishrat Ali of 3 Rajputana Rifles has written letters to the President and National Commission for Minorities alleging that his commanding officer has served him a notice to him for using the salutation of Jai Hind in the unit instead of using "Ram, Ram" and "Jai Mata Di" ? the official battalion slogans.
In his letter, also marked to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Ali has also reportedly termed his unit's salutations of 'Ram Ram' and "Jai Mata Ki' as Hindu religious chants and said that it was impossible for him to use them as he was a Muslim priest.
The Army Headquarters said the maulvi has been served the notice for not using salutations of 'Jai Mata Ki' and 'Ram Ram' which are also the war cries of the battalion for over several decades of its history and are part of the tradition of the units.
Army officials said a circular was issued in 2012 by the then Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh according to which 'Jai Hind' was to be used as a customary salutation by the personnel while greeting each other but allowed the regimental salutations to continue as per the traditions of respective units.
The particular unit 3 Rajputana Rifles has 50 per cent Jat troops and 25 per cent each of Rajput and Muslim troops and everyone uses the unit salutation of 'Ram Ram' and "Jai Mata Ki'.
The Army officials said the maulvi had been told by the unit that as a religious teacher, his job was to motivate the jawans but refusal to use the unit salutations showed his "narrow-mindedness and religious fundamentalism".