For people to casually wear the uniform of Indian armed personnel can pose a grave national security threat. It is no secret that such uniforms are easily available in markets, however, being caught impersonating an army, navy or air force officer is a different ballgame altogether. Raja Nath, belonging to Nadia in West Bengal, and residing in Kochi, was arrested on July 1 near the naval base while he was pretending to be a ‘lieutenant’. The individual also uploaded videos on ‘TikTok’ posing as a naval officer.
Raja Nath, living in an apartment near Thevara, Kochi since October 2019, got himself the uniform stitched locally. During the arrest, naval badges too were seized from the man’s custody. A case under Sec 140 has been registered against Nath, who is currently out on bail. Earlier, a similar incident was reported at the Ernakulum South police station of a man named Nibit Daniel impersonating as a Commander in the Indian Navy. The individual was allegedly involved in fraudulent activities by posing as a senior officer in the Indian Navy who had also got uniforms stitched locally.
Now, the Indian Navy has taken up the matter with the Kerala State government and is seeking a blanket ban on the sale of armed forces uniforms locally and by unauthorised individuals in the state. “Impersonation of service personnel by others is a cognizable offence and those indulging in such activities would be subject to stringent measures in order to avoid anti-national elements from utilizing this method for ulterior motives, which pose a potentially grave threat to national security,” the navy said in a statement.
The sale of armed forces personnel for civilian use is banned in the entire state of Punjab. The same is also banned in Kutch (Gujarat) and Srinagar. It must be remembered that the Pathankot Air Base was attacked by terrorists who were impersonating as Indian Army personnel and wearing uniforms of the same. As such, the use of armed forces personnel uniforms, by those who are not entitled to the same, poses a grave threat to national security.
Citing examples of the same, the Indian Navy statement further read, “Indian Navy is taking up a similar case with Kerala State government for ban of unauthorised sale of Armed forces uniform in Kerala.”