My unit is not a ‘thana’, Colonel takes on IPS officer after being addressed as ‘in-charge’ in letters

Man Aman Singh Chhina
The letter then goes on to appraise the SP about the rank structure of the Army and the NCC units.

A Colonel, who is commanding an NCC unit in Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh, has written a stinging letter to the Superintendent of Police (SP) of the district stating that his unit was not a ‘thana’ (police station), after taking exception to being incorrectly addressed in official communications, and adding that in future such correspondence will land in the dustbin in his office.

Colonel Monash Bakshi, Commanding Officer of 4 Himachal Pradesh (Independent) Company NCC, has written to the SP, Arijit Sen Thakur, an IPS officer, on August 9, pointing out that correct protocol as part of customary etiquette of letter writing was not being followed while addressing letters to him.

The letters originating from your office to this unit addressing Commanding Officer, who is of the rank of a senior Colonel, looking after entire Hamirpur district and districts of Mandi, Bilaspur and Kangra, as ‘in-charge, NCC Company Commander’. Since it is not a ‘thana’ there is no-incharge here. I take it that it is perhaps due to lack of knowledge or ignorance about the rank structure of Indian Army on part of your clerical staff, the letter states.

The letter then goes on to appraise the SP about the rank structure of the Army and the NCC units. The NCC units are not like other regular Army units where appointments like Company Commander are held. The NCC units have a nucleus comprising senior Army officer of the rank of Colonel/Lt Colonel and permanent instructor staff to enroll and train cadets from various education institutions/colleges. There are no Company Commanders in NCC units. The connotation of Commanding Officer/Officer Commanding all over Indian Army is same, only difference is the size of the unit, it states.

The Colonel then goes to tell the SP that he should educate and instruct his ‘munshi’ (clerk) to follow correct customary protocol/order of precedence while communicating failing which such letters will only find place in the dustbin of my office .

Am sure while undergoing training at LBSNAA, Mussoorie you had done attachment with the Army unit and are made aware of the rank structure of officers of the Indian Army. Looking forward for improved response, Colonel Bakshi states in the end.

When contacted, SP Hamirpur, Arijit Sen Thakur, said that he had seen the letter which he had received on Whatsapp. I haven’t received this letter official as yet…I cannot confirm its authenticity as yet,’ he said.

However, speaking to The Indian Express over the phone from Hamirpur, Colonel Monash Bakshi confirmed that he had written the letter. When told that the SP had said that he had not received it as yet, he said, That you ask from the SP . He also said that the office of the SP had not been using the correct nomenclature while addressing letters for the past some time. Colonel Bakshi refused to discuss the matter further saying that he did not know whom he was speaking to on the phone.