Gen Rawat on Thursday came down heavily on the violent protests over the CAA.
He said the leadership is not about guiding masses and crowds, including students, to carry out arson and violence in cities and towns.
Media reports quoted Gen. Rawat as saying at a health summit: “Leaders are not those who lead people in inappropriate direction. As we are witnessing in large number of universities & colleges, students the way they are leading masses & crowds to carry out arson & violence in cities & towns. This is not leadership.”
Gen Rawat, who is due to retire on December 31 as the Army chief, also said: “A leader is one person who leads you in the correct direction, gives you the right advice and then ensures that you care for the people you live.”
According to media reports, Gen Rawat’s name has been doing the round to be India’s first Chief of Defence Staff.
The chief of Defence Staff will be the single-point military adviser to the central government on tri-services matters.
Criticising Gen Rawat’s statement, Congress spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa questioned how the Army chief could be allowed to make comment on political issues.
Brijesh Kalappa tweeted: “Army Chief Bipin Rawat speaking against #CAAProtests is wholly against constitutional democracy. If Army Chief is allowed to speak on Political issues today, it also permits him to attempt an Army takeover tomorrow!!”
Gen Rawat is not new to controversies. During his 3-year tenure as Army chief, Gen Rawat faced allegations of not remaining politically neutral.
CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury also took to his Twitter handle to crticise the Gen Rawat.
Yechury tweeted: “The Army Chief’s statement underlines as to how the situation has degenerated under the Modi government where the highest officer in uniform can so brazenly breach the limits of his institutional role.”
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also said leadership is about knowing the limits of one’s office.
A media report quoted Owaisi as saying: “It is about understanding the idea of civilian supremacy and preserving the integrity of the institution that you head.”
The anti-CAA protests have turned violent in several parts of the country while a number of protestors including four in Guwahati have died due to bullet injuries.