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Army rule is coming in India – Justice Markandey Katju

A relative of mine who retired as a Lt.Gen came to meet me a short while back. I told him army rule is coming in India in about a year’s time.

He strongly objected, and said that the Indian army is non political, and will never be political.

I asked him to hear my reasons for what I said.

It is almost certain that BJP will suffer a massive defeat in the coming Lok Sabha elections, but Congress too will not get anywhere near a majority, and instead a coalition govt will be formed in the Centre controlled by regional leaders like Mamata, Akhilesh, Chandrababu Naidu, Naveen Patnaik, Tejaswi Yadav, DMK, ADMK etc. This motley collection of regional satraps, who have nothing in common, will first of all fight each other for lucrative portfolios ( as happened in Karnataka after the state assembly elections recently ) and then keep squabbling over several other issues ( like the members of the Janta Party formed after the Emergency ended in 1977 ), and will be at each other’s throats all the time, motivated by the desire for power and pelf.

This will result in total chaos in the country, resulting in a vacuum. A vacuum cannot last forever, and the only institution which can fill it in is the army, as they have the gun ( and power flows from the barrel of a gun ) which will then be compelled by circumstances to step in and seize power.

There are many historical examples of this, which I enumerated :

(1) In 1936 a coalition govt consisting of Communists, Socialists, Anarchists etc came to power after an election in Spain. The members of this coalition immediately started fighting each other, and chaotic conditions soon followed. Peasants seized lands of landlords, church properties were confiscated and vandalised, and industries nationalized. This provoked a reaction among the army officers who rebelled under Gen Franco, and after a 3 year war the rebels seized power in 1939.

(2) In Pakistan, after Jinnah’s death, chaotic conditions soon followed including assassination of the Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, and then the army stepped in to fill the vacuum. 

(3) In Chile, the Marxist Allende was elected President in 1970. He started confiscation of thousands of acres of land owned by the American United Fruit Company, and nationalized the copper mines of the American ITT Company. Huge protests and demonstrations ensued, and the transport system was paralyzed. This created a vacuum, which resulted in the army coup d’état in 1973 led by Gen Pinochet.

(4) A similar chaos resulted in the military coup led by Gen Suharto in Indonesia in 1965.

(5) On the collapse of the Roman Republic a period of chaos ensued, which was followed by seizure of power by Octavius ( Caesar’s grand nephew and adopted son ) leading an army, who initiated the Roman Empire, declaring himself as Augustus.

Many other such examples can be given

By Justice Markandey Katju
former Judge, Supreme Court of India   

Disclaimer: The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not reflect the views and policies of the

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