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Sexual Harassment in Indian Army at peak

NEW DELHI: This year, an army officer who was the very prominent part during the first ever Indian Army Women officers at the Rajpath this year at the Republic Day parade, has allegedly claimed sexual harassment by a senior officer of her.

“While the army sat on her complaint for nearly two months, the accused was posted to a much larger commanding unit. Disappointed by the way her complaint was handled by the authorities,” the complainant said.

The father of the complainant had also written the emotional appeal to the Manohar Parrikar, the Defense minister to look into the matter,

“If this is the way the Indian Army treats its daughters, I am not sure if any parent will ever send their daughters to the Army,” he wrote in a letter.

The signal Corps, 26 years old captain, who was posted at the Alwar military station in the Rajasthan, has filed the complaint against the commanding officer of her unit for the sexual harassment. The committee which deals with the sexual harassment of the women at the work place, on the basis of the complaint of the victim, found the evidence against the commanding officer, who is a senior commanding colonel and have also recommended the further proceedings and strict actions against him.

In 2013 the officer was commissioned in the Indian army, and in the February of this year, the officer was posted after her efficient participation in the prestigious Republic Day Parade. But after joining the post the ordeals of the officer began. Commanding officer had asked many immoral questions from the officer several times since the start of her posting. The officer claimed that the senior commanding officer tried to touch her private parts and passed many comment like,

“When a lady officer salutes, people look at her breasts and when they pass by people look at their butts.”

She wrote, while quoting another instance that,

“He called me in his office and told my panty is visible on every dress whether uniform, formals, or PT dress. He kept asking me to change the pattern of panty I wear. I got embarrassed.”

The officer decided to file the complaint against the commanding officer after facing the sexual harassment for the six months. She wrote,

“I am approaching you bypassing all channels for redressal of my grievances because an earlier attempt to do the same through the proper channel has failed to provide me justice on complaint”

A committee presided by a Major-rank female officer was formed to look into her complaints. “Committee has heard the complaint and has opined that necessary action as per provision of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act 2013) be initiated against the Colonel. It is requested that necessary steps be initiated for deposition of Colonel before the Committee,” on 1st October.

The father wrote in the letter last week that,

“I am the proud father of an Army Officer who marched down the Rajpath this year to showcase ‘woman power’. I am absolutely disappointed today and the reason is that my daughter was sexually harassed by her Commanding Officer and she complained to the higher-ups. In the name of taking action, the higher officials gave him (the erring colonel) a plum posting. Now my little child is trying her best to not let her head drop or shoulders droop.”

“But the reason I am writing to you is not about the sexual harassment alone but the way it was handled by the senior officials who had the rank of Brigadier and Major General,” he said.

The authorities are supposed to response to the complaint within 48 hours as per the law. Whereas, the Indian army took 2 months to form a committee to respond the complaint.