Sanjha Morcha

Indian Army recommends dismissal of Major General from service in two-year-old sexual harassment case

A Captain-rank lady officer had accused the Major General of sexually harassing her when the latter was posted in Northeast. The accused officer has denied all the charges levelled against him.

Indian Army

Representational Image  |  Photo Credit: IANS

New Delhi: An Army General Court Martial recommended dismissal of a Major General from service in a two-year-old sexual harassment case today. The verdict was pronounced at 3.30 AM today at the GCM headed by a Lt Gen-rank officer. The officer in question has been charged under section 354A of the IPC and Army Act 45 which is related to unbecoming conduct of officers in the force, sources told ANI.

He had been charged under section 354 of IPC earlier but the court gave special findings and held him guilty under section 354A of IPC, news agency ANI reported.

Talking to ANI, Advocate Anand Kumar who is representing the Major General in the trial said that higher authority has the powers to even change the sentence and added they will be appealing against the order as the GCM court has not even looked into the defence case yet.

The defence believes that the evidence has not been appreciated properly and the decision has been passed in haste.

The alleged incident took place in late 2016 when the Major General was posted in the Northeast and was attached to Chandimandir under Army’s Western Command for the disciplinary proceedings.

A Captain-rank lady officer accused the Maj Gen of sexually harassing her but the Maj Gen denied all the charges. In a plea filed before the before the Armed Forces Tribunal the accused officer claimed he was a victim of factionalism within the Army which started due to the appointment of Army Chief in that year.


Women in combat: How the Navy chief spoke sense but the Army chief did not

General Bipin Rawat

In a recent interview, chief of army staff General Bipin Rawat spoke at length about why the is not ready for women combat officers.

Women in combat is not just a contentious subject, it is also one which brings out passionate reactions from both aspiring women who wish to shatter yet another glass ceiling and officers fiercely holding the ceiling in place, lest it starts to crack.

While both the disruptors and the resistance have valid arguments, Gen. Rawat strangely chose the most chauvinistic, illogical and factually untenable points to insist why the would not have woman combatants any time soon.

From “…there are orders that we have to cocoon her separately. She will say somebody is peeping, so we will have to give a sheet around her” to “I make her a commanding officer. She is commanding a battalion. Can that lady officer be away from her duties for six months? Do I put a restriction on her to say that in that command tenure you will not be given maternity leave? If I say that, there will be ruckus created,” his arguments were infantilising women at best and ridiculous at worst.

Take the first point. Why would a woman officer complain about men peeping inside her hut/cabin/room, unless somebody is indeed peeping inside? And if somebody is peeping inside a woman’s room without her consent, then it is not the woman’s problem; it is a problem of discipline. And as any leader would agree, indisciplined troops are a nightmare for any commander.

Taking the same argument forward, Gen. Rawat said that since a majority of Indian soldiers (people below the rank of officer) still come from villages, they will have a problem taking orders from a woman commander.

There are two flaws with this excuse. One, soldiers are trained to follow orders given by their superiors in rank. Period. They are not trained to take orders from a ‘male’ superior. In military, a rank is what matters, which is why it is worn on the shoulders. Now if trained soldiers chose to look at the breast of their commanding officer instead of the rank on her shoulder, then in addition to being a problem of indiscipline, it represents the breakdown of command too.

The second flaw is that men from rural areas have been taking orders from women for several decades now, whether as security guards, domestic helps, office assistants and even in the  After all, except for combat, women officers are already serving in the  Aren’t they giving orders to their juniors, including jawans? And aren’t those orders being obeyed?

His most facetious argument was about women asking for maternity leave during their command tenure. In India, even the male officers who get approved for command tenure rarely do so before the age of 40. Given this, which woman, especially after enduring physical and mental rigours of military training to get commissioned as a combatant, would decide to have a child at the age of 40 or more? Even in the civil sector, the percentage of women opting to have children at 40 is miniscule. What’s more, of every ten officers, only half manage to command a unit. A woman who reaches this position is hardly likely to throw it all away because she belatedly decides to have a child. And even if she does, she would know that this would involve a compromise as far as her military career goes. This should worry the woman concerned, not the 

Gen. Rawat, please look at the social profile of the officers you are commanding. Most have more than one child even before they hit their 30s; almost a decade and half before they can have a shot at commanding a battalion. Why would women be any different?

And as far as the country not being ready to receive the body bag of a woman officer is concerned, is anyone ever ready to receive a body bag of their loved one? It’s not about being ready. It’s about hoping and praying that your loved one does not return in a bag, yet accepting it when that happens.

Clearly, Gen. Rawat was caught off guard by the intrepid journalist. And the misogynist banter which usually happens in the army messes found its way into the interview.

Contrast this with the press conference the chief of naval staff had a few weeks prior to this infamous interview. In response to a question on women officers being inducted in the combat role, Admiral Sunil Lanba said, “Navy is a gender-neutral service. We have already commissioned women officers in combat. They are flying the P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, which is a combat platform.”

According to Admiral Lanba, women officers have been trained to release weapons from P-8I, which is combat in the navy.

In response to another question, he added that all the modern under-construction warships are being designed to accommodate women officers. The only reason women have not been deployed on surface ships so far is because the naval training ships are not equipped to train women officers. “We are working on this. As soon as we have new training ships, we will train women for deployment on combat ships,” he told the assembled journalists.

offered no timelines and none were asked. A new training ship could start training women officers next year, or it may not do so for another five years. But at least the chief conveyed that the navy has no prejudice against women, instead of belabouring the fact that a woman officer may have to be alone on the ship with male colleagues for several months on operational deployment.

Inducting women in combat is a serious subject, which is why very few armed forces in the world induct women in the fighting arms. It deserves a serious and well-considered response. If he was not giving so many interviews at a breakneck speed, perhaps Gen. Rawat would have had time to consider his responses and he wouldn’t have exposed his regressive mind-set.

Surely, the head of the largest volunteer army in the world could have done better.


Rafale shadow: 2 senior MoD finance officers shifted out

rafale

New Delhi: Amid a distant Rafale deal shadow, two senior bureaucrats handling finance in the defence ministry have been posted out, months after being appointed by the government. The replacement for the top position of the financial advisor (defence services), or FADS, is an officer from the rival audit and accounts service, something that has sent the Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS) cadre into a shock.

Madhulika Sukul, who took over as the FADS in August, has been moved as secr ..

Gargi

Read more at:
//economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/67239207.cms?from=mdr&utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Bureaucracy targets another military institution

The MoD, ignoring service HQs had unilaterally amended the gazette notification containing recruitment rules for the GMBOA in 2017, opening doors for a Joint Secretary-ranked bureaucrat to be appointed.

Bureaucracy, Canteen Stores Department, Navy canteen services, military institution, Defence Ministry, GMBOA, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, CSD, armed forces

The Canteen Stores Department (CSD) had been established in 1948 alongside the Navy canteen services. The reason for its creation was to provide military personnel with their basic needs, despite remoteness of their location. It initially commenced with a few items in its inventory, which has grown to over 4,000 presently. Its profit in the last financial year, earned from mainly military personnel was Rs 1,253 crores. It is under the overall supervision of the defence minister but run by army HQs.

It was created solely for military personnel, which was subsequently extended to civilians paid from defence estimates in 1966, against military advice. Despite serious objections by the military community, this facility was subsequently extended to retired civilian staff too, thus adding 650,000 entitled personnel.

Retired civilians had restrictions on some items of purchase for which they objected to the Defence Ministry (MoD). The MoD has been attempting to force service HQs to remove these restrictions, which they are resisting, as it would impact availability to genuine customers, the serving and veteran community, due to budgetary constraints. Restrictions pertain to costly items including cars etc. There are already limitations on procurement by military personnel, but if opened for all, it may become nigh impossible for military personnel to obtain these items or ensure long waits.

The General Manager and Chairman Board of Administration (GMBOA), responsible for the daily running of the entire CSD network was always a serving military officer of the rank of a Major General, appointed on contractual basis for three to four years. Last week, the MoD issued a notification appointing a Major General, posted in another appointment in Mumbai, on a temporary basis for a duration of six months or selection of a new GMBOA, whichever is earlier, as against a permanent appointment.

The MoD, ignoring service HQs had unilaterally amended the gazette notification containing recruitment rules for the GMBOA in 2017, opening doors for a Joint Secretary-ranked bureaucrat to be appointed. This unilateral action angered the military and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, the then senior most chief, wrote to the defence minister, Arun Jaitley, on the subject. No action was taken.

In August this year, when the current air force head of the CSD moved on promotion, it became evident that the MoD was contemplating appointing their own. The three service chiefs jointly approached the defence minister in August, who temporarily stalled the action.

Hence, a temporary appointment was announced. Based on the meeting, service HQs subsequently forwarded an official communication to the MoD, objecting to the unilateral amendment. This communique has been languishing in the MoD, without being processed.

The bureaucracy appears to be planning to delay the case for six months, hoping for a change in defence minister or government, enabling them to push forth their agenda. The intention behind appointing a bureaucrat is to dilute CSD facilities by opening it to other central government organizations, making it almost redundant as also to amend rules on sharing profit earned by the CSD. Logically, if desired for others, a similar organization can be created, rather than dilute an existing one.

CSD profits have already been used to fund the Sanskriti school in Delhi, which was created for children of bureaucrats. Most of the profit is kept by the government, the small portion which is returned to the armed forces is utilised for creating facilities and providing financial assistance to veterans.

The bureaucracy is seeking to grab every institution of the military that it can, despite having no role in the running nor even being entitled to it. It is now an open conflict between the bureaucracy and the military on controlling military assets.

Evidently, the military is spending more time battling its own MoD and bureaucracy, which suddenly seems to have grown wings, rather than handling cross-border threats. At every stage, the bureaucracy seeks to delay, deny and prevent the armed forces from moving ahead. Surprisingly, this action appears to have the support of the defence minister, who permits it to act, either knowingly or unknowingly.

In addition, in a recent communique to Cantonment Executive Officers (CEOs) and Local Military Authorities (LMAs) responsible for the security and well being of cantonments, Minister Nirmala Sitharaman issued a clear warning. Open all roads ignoring security aspects or face the consequences. She ignored military security concerns. After her last directions, the army had already opened most roads keeping a few closed for security purposes.

She is evidently following the philosophy that the armed forces interest ‘come last, always and every time’, the exact opposite of what her role as the defence minister should have been. With such a head at the MoD, there is no wonder that the ministry is working in a coordinated manner to denude the armed forces of every institution they have, including those on which a majority of the forces depend. Military hospitals are being opened to ‘Modicare’ and the CSD being taken over by the bureaucracy. Cantonments are already open. What could be next??

Never in the history of the country have the armed forces been pushed to such depths that they are forced to fight for their rights and dues. The defence minister can threaten the armed forces, as she did in the cantonment case, only because they are disciplined and respectful. But she cannot direct her own ministry not to cross limits in denuding the status and institutions of the armed forces.

Is this the status and standing of the armed forces that PM Modi promised in his Rewari rally of 2013? Are his directions to her to break every military institution, degrade its status and lower its prestige? If these are not his directions, then she needs to be firmer with her MoD than the military. She must ensure that her bureaucracy does not cross limits. She should remember that as military institutions fall, anger against the government would only rise.

The writer is a retired Major-General of the Indian Army.


Indian Army Creates Record: Repairs Helicopter At Crash Site In Siachen Glacier, Flies It Back To Base Camp

Indian Army Creates Record: Repairs Helicopter At Crash Site In Siachen Glacier, Flies It Back To Base Camp

In an unprecedented feat, the Indian Army successfully repaired its advanced light helicopter Dhruv at its crash site in Siachen glacier and flew it back to the Siachen base camp, New Indian Express has reported.

As per the report, the helicopter belonging to the 203 Army Aviation Squadron had crashed at about 17,000 feet near the Khanda post in January and was initially left to its fate.

As per an ANI report, the helicopter was on an air maintenance sortie when it developed a snag and had to be landed into the snow. It subsequently fell sideways due to overnight snow.

In subsequent inspections by the army, officials felt that the chopper can be repaired and a plan was initiated after getting due approval from the General Officer Commanding of the 14 Corps and the Director-General of Army Aviation Corps.

Under this plan, a squadron was dispatched from Khanda on a 15-day journey to repair the helicopter. Under extreme climate ranging between 25 to 30 degree Celsius below zero, the team started working on the helicopter under various physical and technical difficulties.

On most days the window of opportunity to work on the helicopter was just 60 to 90 minutes but despite all odds, the team managed to affix new parts to make it operational.

This feat has been described as a world record of sorts and it is the first time the Indian Army has successfully retrieved a chopper which crashed in the Siachen region.


Why Woman Are Not Suitable for Deployment in Combat Arms Brig Narender Kumar

Why Woman Are Not Suitable for Deployment in Combat Arms

 Brig Narender Kumar

There is a debate on why a woman should not be deployed in combat arms. This issue needs to be looked at from the operational imperatives and service conditions rather than looking at it from a gender biased approach. It is important to understand how young officers are groomed to be able to lead their men till death, an ethos that requires close physical and mental connect with the men. This connect comes by living and competing with the men that a woman may find it difficult to do so.

 

When I took over the command of my unit, I told my officers, “Sweat together to bleed together” and “Train together to fight together”. To lead men in war require identifying as one of them. Trust and faith to die for each other do not come by wearing rank and walking up to them on the day of the judgement. When men are thrown to the wolf, in an uncertain environment, they look up to the officers who can convert their fear and apprehensions into strength and undying spirit. Men are not machines; the trust is built on the physical and mental robustness of the officers when they train together in peace and field.

 

To make a leader in the combat arm is a nuanced process. To be an officer is one aspect and to be a leader of the men is another. When a young officer walks into the combat arms unit, he is made to live with the men as a soldier and performs all duties that a soldier is required to perform. He sleeps in the barrack, he eats with them, he plays with them and rubs shoulders during games and training. He is exposed to the men and they know if he is capable of leading or needs to be polished further. Vikram Batra, Manoj Pandey and Shaitan Singh were the product of this tradition of grooming a young military leader in combat arms and the nation will remain proud of them for eternity.

 

During formative years young officer is part of various competitions along with his men. He is required to go on LRP for long duration where he is supposed to share his small pup tent with his buddies, eat from the same plate and take bath in the same stream where men take bath. If you are part of the Armoured or Mechanised Regiment you are sleeping and training with the crew day and night. There are no barracks in desert when you are out for training. A tank is your home and side of the tank is your bathroom. There is no luxury to have a separate caravan while on the move. Similarly, when you are out with your Artillery Regiment you sleep in gun position along with the gun crew and when you are operating as Arty Op or forward observation officer, you are with the leading infantry column. Living the way men are living along with your radio operator beside you all the time.

 

When you get hurt or sprain your body parts, it is your buddy who would help you in everything including going to toilet. I do remember when a senior JCO told me that the young officer still has baby fat on him and he needs to be polished to become a commander of his men. Officers returning back from leave are often ticked off by the CO or 2IC for being overweight. But telling a woman to reduce weight and get fit could be considered as chauvinist’ remark.  As a young officer, you are required to compete every day with men during PT and games. Play troop’s games and push and shove each other in the contest for being better than the men. Be it PT, games, battle physical efficiency test (BPET), firing, and he is required to give demonstration to his men to make them his followers. After he has done it all he is considered fit to lead men. Lives of men can be trusted upon him once he is found suitable to lead men in combat. These activities develop trust, faith and moral contract of unlimited liability as an officer towards men. The command is personal and you cannot make men lay down their lives on orders, it requires mutual trust and deep understanding of each other’s capabilities. Regimental ethos is drilled into young officers by men and not by officers. Men are ready to do impossible when they know they are being led by a tiger who will risk his life before harm is brought upon his men. This faith comes when you are capable of roughing it out with the men. It is the senior JCO and Platoon Havildar who train the young officers and give their opinion if they are fit to lead men on independent missions or not.

 

In combat and war, for weeks and days, you are away from your basis and sleeping, eating and huddling together with the men behind rocks and bushes. In ambush you cannot even go away to relive yourself, it is in-situ or else you will either be shot by your own men in the darkness or ambush would be compromised. There are no changing rooms, there are no toilets, and you have to change clothes in the open in front of your men. I do remember as a company commander and as a CO, during operations when you wish to go to attend to nature’s call, you are escorted by your buddy or else you may be shot by the terrorists. In field more often you walk into your men’s bunks and play with them chess or carom. During cross LOC firing officers even sleep in the bunkers along with the men for days together.

 

Question is not that women are any less in physical attributes but combat is all about trust, faith, personal rapport and contact with the men. It is considered a great gesture of affection and concern for men when officers put a hand over the shoulders of men even while informal interaction. Punching playfully on the chest or stomach of fellow soldiers is a sign of proximity and intimacy. It is a sign of trust and comradery. As a CO in combat, you hug and put hands around the neck of your men to tell them that you are with them. FM Sam Manekshaw often interacted with the men by physical contact while talking to them especially during war. In combat arms, there are no concessions as far as physical attributes are concerned, if you cannot cope up with the men you may risk their lives in operations. At times as an officer, you have to carry or support your men and their loads and every good company commander would have done it during his service. As a leader in war or CI/CT operations you can’t have men guarding you. You have to prove that you are better than men when it comes to action even in close quarter combat. Combat is physical and let us face the fact men and woman are not equal in physical capabilities, otherwise you will not have separate sports competitions for men and woman.

 

Not giving combat role to a woman is not gender discrimination, but there are practical issues and women certainly are not yet ready unless they are part of a women subunit. During the war, there are chances where an officer can become a prisoner of war (POW). The treatment to a woman as POW can be outrageous and national embarrassment. Similarly, in CI/CT and deployment along LOC, one has to be prepared to fight it out alone and if a woman officer is captured and killed, mutilation is traumatic and embarrassing. Even in UN Missions, there are protocols and women are not deployed in the field due to operational conditions.

 

The debate of deployment of a woman on combat duties is becoming fashionable and a sign of woman liberation against gender bias. But there are operational imperatives and conditions that do not allow a woman to get deployed in a combat role. It must not be misunderstood with logistic issues but it is more for operational issues and pre-requisites for preparation of combat leaders. Leading men in war is not by authority but by belief and trust that you gain from your men by rubbing shoulders with them. The ethos in Infantry is either you are able to walk ahead of your men or you will be left behind to face humiliation.

 

The author is a distinguished fellow of United Services Institution of India.

 


IAF Recruitment Alert 2019: Apply for Airmen in Group X & Y Trade

IAF to Recruit Airmen in Group X & Y Trade

IAF Job Update 2019: Indian Air Force (IAF) has invited applications for the post of Airmen in Group X & Y Trade Posts. Candidates who want to apply for the post need to visit the official site of at airmenselection.cdac.in to apply. The last date to apply for the post is till January 21, 2019. Candidates can also apply via careerindianairforce.cdac.in.

IAF Airmen Posts 2019 Important Dates

  • Opening Date of Application: January 02, 2019
  • Closing Date of Application: January 21, 2019
  • Online Exam Dates: March 14 to 17, 2019

 IAF Airmen Posts 2019 Eligibility Criteria

Educational Qualification

  • Group ‘X’ (Except Education Instructor Trade): Class 10th /matriculation passing certificate. Intermediate/10+2 or equivalent marksheet/marksheets (if applying on the basis of 12th/ intermediate or equivalent educational qualifications). 3 Years Engineering Diploma Final Year Marksheet (if applying on the basis of 3 Years Engineering Diploma from a Govt. recognised polytechnic in prescribed stream).
  • Group ‘Y’ {Except Automobile Technician, GTI, IAF (P), IAF(S) and Musician} Trades: Passed Intermediate / 10+2 / Equivalent Examination in any stream/subjects approved by Central / State Education Boards with minimum 50% marks in aggregate and 50% marks in English.
  • Group ‘Y’ Medical Assistant Trade Only: Passed 10+2/Intermediate/ equivalent exam with Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English with a minimum of 50% marks in aggregate and 50% marks in English.

Age Limit

Candidate born between 19 January 1999 and 01 January 2003 (both days inclusive) are eligible to apply.

Other Details

Candidates who want to apply for the post need to pay Rs 250/- as examination fee. Candidates will have to make the payment by using Debit Cards/Credit Cards/Internet Banking through payment gateway. For more details related to posts, candidates can check the detailed notification available here.


US withdrawal from Afghanistan to impact Kashmir, says former DGP

US withdrawal from Afghanistan to impact Kashmir, says former DGP

Youths throw stones at security personnel during clashes in the Valley. Tribune photo

Pune, December 25

Asserting that India should adopt a “clear-cut roadmap” to tackle the Kashmir issue, former DGP of Jammu and Kashmir K Rajendra Kumar has said the US pulling out troops from Afghanistan will have implications in the Valley and terrorist outfits may feel emboldened.

Kumar was delivering the Lalitaditya Memorial Lecture in Pune, organised by the Sarhad organisation. He also said that there was a need to send a stern message to Pakistan for its support to militancy.

“A stern message needs to be sent out to Pakistan in terms of retaliation. We need to make it more costly for Pakistan because today it is not feeling the pinch it should feel,” said Kumar.

He said India should deal strongly with Pakistan over the training camps and terrorist launchpads.

“Now the USA is exiting Afghanistan. It will have implications in Kashmir. It is only a matter of time before we will feel its implications in the Valley. After the US withdrawal, the terrorist organisations will feel pumped up, emboldened,” he said.

Seeing America’s withdrawal as a “sign of victory”, terrorist outfits can feel that New Delhi can also be defeated. So, there is an urgent need for India to adopt a “clear-cut roadmap” to deal with terrorism in Kashmir, he asserted.

The US is planning to withdraw 7,000 troops from Afghanistan. The American troops contribute to training and advising local forces fighting the Taliban and the Islamic State group.

Underling Pakistan’s active role in spreading terrorism in the Valley, the former IPS officer said Pakistan was not only sponsoring terrorism but also sending its nationals to Kashmir in the garb of fighting jihad. “No matter which government is in power, Pakistan continues to sponsor terrorism in the Valley,” he said.

He said militancy in Kashmir started with local terrorist organisations but now it was tilting towards Islamic extremism. “The Valley has a rich history of Sufism but over the years it has moved towards Wahabism,” he said, adding that efforts should be made to take Kashmir back to Sufism.

Suggesting measures, he said the state needed stringent laws to deal with anti-national forces and a concrete policy to encourage youths to give up militancy.

The surrender policy must ensure that youth who give up militancy are gainfully employed and discouraged from returning to it, he said. He also called for political outreach and empowerment of the civil society.

He said the social media had played a destructive role in inciting sentiments of the youth. — PTI

 


Colleague shoots dead soldier at army camp in Doda district

Jammu, December 26

A soldier was shot dead following a verbal spat by his colleague in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district, police said.

“Havildar Rajesh was fired upon by his colleague inside an army camp in Bhaderwah area late on Tuesday. The injured was shifted to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries,” a police officer said.

The incident reportedly followed a verbal spat between the two.

“Police have sought custody of the accused soldier. The army has also ordered an internal inquiry,” the officer added. IANS


Civilian killed in Pak firing along LoC in J-K’s Rajouri

Civilian killed in Pak firing along LoC in J-K’s Rajouri

File photo for representation.

Jammu, December 26

A 55-year-old civilian was killed on Wednesday in unprovoked firing by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district, a defence spokesman said.

“At around 1200 hours, Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked firing in Noushera sector, resulting in fatal casualty of one civilian, Bodhraj, a resident of Deeing village,” Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand said.

He said Bodhraj sustained injuries in the firing and was immediately evacuated by the Army for medical aid, but succumbed to injuries.

“Indian troops replied to the Pakistani belligerence in a befitting manner,” the officer said, adding that Army authorities have promised all possible assistance and help to the family of the deceased.

This is the second time in the past three days that Pakistani troops have resorted to unprovoked firing from across the border in Noushera sector.

On December 24, Pakistani troops targeted forward posts and villages in Keri, Lam, Pukharni and Peer Badaser areas of the sector for five hours from 9.30 am.

Although there was no casualty in the firing and shelling, local authorities had closed all schools within a five-km radius in the affected areas as a precautionary measure that day. — PTI