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As the year 2019 comes to a close, both at home and in the neighbourhood, military matters and military men are in the news. While our politicians had upset our Veterans in particular, after Rajya Sabha Marshals were found wearing military-type safari suits, some saw it as a brazen attempt to appropriate the respect that our military men have earned, while for others it was plain ignorance about the sanctity of military uniforms. It took a sharp outrage from the retired fraternity for the government to withdraw the uniforms. While this action was seen as an appropriation of the military’s distinguished standing in our society, but it can also be attributed to the decades-old confusion about the importance the military accords to its uniforms. Over the years, it has passively accepted the ‘copycat’ styles adopted by the paramilitary and police forces on Army-style patterned uniforms and rank badges. Coming as it did, with recent reports that the Defence Accounts Department was found to be recovering pension from the accounts of retiring soldiers from the Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME) for the non-production of Option Certificates, it has upset our Veterans further. Unmindful about soldiers of the arm being unable to access the same owing to their attachments with various other army units and being away from their parent units most of the time, members of the DAD seem to be under a firm notion that it is their duty to save money even if it means denying a soldier his rightful dues. These persons are wary of interpreting any provision to the advantage of soldiers for the fear that such an action might make them appear to be harming the interests of the exchequer!

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