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Army chief’s letter, Telangana rock Parliament

New Delhi(IANS): Rocked by the letter written by Army chief Gen V.K. Singh to the prime minister, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice till 12 noon Wednesday even as Defence Minister A.K. Antony assured a response at ”an appropriate time”.

The Lok Sabha was also adjourned till 12 noon as members raised the issue of a separate state of Telangana.

V.K. Singh, in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has pointed out a shortage of arms and ammunition in the armed forces.

According to reports, the letter, which was written March 12, 2012, states that army tanks in the country have run out of ammunition. The letter emphasises the need to bridge the shortcomings and bring the army to fighting level.

In the upper house, opposition members were on their feet as soon as the house met for the day. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said it raises serious questions on the “state of the armed forces”.

“The army chief has written a secret letter about the serious situation of ammunition…It is unfortunate but a serious issue,” Naidu said in the upper house.

“We are now frightened about the state of the army. I am afraid even in saying (so) because I don’t want to run down the army,” he said.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Shivanand Tiwari, however, demanded that the army chief be sacked. “This is a matter of serious indiscipline, the army chief should be sacked,” he said.

As the entire opposition remained agitated over the issue, Defence Minister Antony said he was “aware” of the letter and assured a response from the government.

“I am aware of it, and government will respond at an appropriate time,” Antony said.
Opposition leaders, however, sought an immediate reply on the future course of action despite repeated pleas from Chairman Hamid Ansari to resume question hour. The house was then adjourned first for 15 minutes and then till 12 noon.

As the house reassembled at 11.22 a.m., the chair requested members to resume the normal business, but opposition continued its protest. Amid the din the house was then adjourned till 12 noon.

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