Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her ministry on Tuesday were involved in Twitter spat with social media users, who accused both of lying on alleged insults meted out to the senior members of armed forces.
The controversy began after the official Twitter handle of the spokesperson for the ministry of defence posted a tweet of Sitharaman holding talks with senior officials on the preparations to tackle the cyclone Ockhi, which wreaked havoc in parts of south India, leaving dozens dead.
— DPR (@SpokespersonMoD) December 3, 2017
In the photo posted by the MoD spokesperson’s Twitter handle, while Sitharaman and other civil servants were seen seated, top ranking officials to the rank of Vice Admiral were seen standing. Srivatsa, head of Congress party’s social media team in Karnataka, asked Sitharaman, “Why is a senior naval officer, a vice-admiral, made to stand as a supplicant? Is this how you treat our forces.”
— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) December 3, 2017
The official Twitter handle of Sitharaman’s ministry, @DefenceMinIndia, acknowledged his concern but denied the allegations of insults being meted out to top ranking Indian Navy officials. Its tweet said, “Shri Srivatsa, your concern is absolutely justified. In this case however, picture taken is right at the beginning of officers entering the room. As soon as RM @nsitharaman saw officers standing,she directed bringing chairs & the officers were seated for rest of the meeting.”
Shri Srivatsa, your concern is absolutely justified. In this case however, picture taken is right at the beginning of officers entering the room. As soon as RM @nsitharaman saw officers standing,she directed bringing chairs & the officers were seated for rest of the meeting
— Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) December 4, 2017
Srivatsa was quick to counter the Raksha Mantri’s claims by posting another photo of the same meeting taken from a different angle. In this photo too, the naval officers were seen standing.
This is the same meeting. There are no extra chairs. Please stop lying and respect our armed forces 🙏 pic.twitter.com/rty3jkh2VH
— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) December 5, 2017
This prompted Sitharaman to get involved in the conversation, where she too denied the allegations of lying while adding that she had asked for the extra chairs.