ADHM row: Army rejects MNS forced donations to army welfare fund
Army seems to be upset over the MNS’s demands that producers of films employing Pakistani artistes should pay Rs 5 crore to an army welfare fund as “penance”. Senior Amry officials and veterans on Saturday rejected Raj Thackeray’s army welfare proposal.
According to media reports, the officials were upset over the security force being dragged into “politics”. The controversy over the ban on Pakistani artistes erupted after Karan Johar’s ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ ran into a storm of protests led by MNS because Pakistani actor Fawad Khan has a role in it.
After much debate and war of words among politicians, film fraternity, the film has been allowed to be released after its producers met with three conditions put forward by MNS chief Raj Thackeray, including payment of Rs 5 crore to Army Welfare Fund.
“All contributions (to welfare fund) are to be voluntary.Extortion is not allowed. We would want people to contribute on their own rather than under any coercion,” a senior army official said, according to PTI.
He further added that the army is “upset” over being dragged into this politics.
“The army is completely apolitical. It is wrong to drag the force into politics,” another army official said.
“(We) would never support it,” Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd), former military secretary, said when asked if he supports the move of the MNS.
“Why should the armed forces be made a part of this extortion? By accepting this money they would become a ‘receiver’ of tainted money,” tweeted Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (Retd).
Army sources said that they have a system in place to check all contributions and can even reject a contribution made under duress or by any person whom the force does not want to be associated with.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Saturday told reporters that every producer who has cast Pakistani artists in their films will give Rs. 5 crore to the Army relief fund, promising that that he would not defer the release of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil .
The movie director Karan Johar, producers’ guild president Mukesh Bhatt met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Thackeray and discussed the controversy over Ae Dil…, which stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. And a compromise was reached.