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Army chief promises stern action against rapists
October 09, 2003 15:12 IST
Last Updated: October 09, 2003 17:38 IST
Calling it a blot on the name of his force, Army Chief Gen N C Vij on Thursday condemned the rape of a student allegedly by four soldiers of the Presidential Guards in Delhi and promised stern action if they were found to be guilty.
Following the rape allegation, the Army Chief had ordered the Commandant of the Presidential Bodyguards Colonel Bhawani Singh to hold a parade of the 161 Cavalry and determine the identity of the accused.
Gen Vij said the accused were immediately handed over to police after the incident came to light so that they could be punished.
Taking a serious view of the incident, he told reporters on the sidelines of a National Cadet Corps function in Delhi that the action would have been severe if the crime had been committed in an army area. "Then we could have invoked the Army Act," he said.
Officials said under the Army Act, if a JCO or a person of a superior rank is accused of such a crime, he could be immediately placed under suspension and stripped of all privileges. However, no action can be taken against personnel below the rank of JCO, nor can they be stripped of their salaries or perks, till a court of law convicts them.
Union Minister of State for Defence Chaman Lal Gupta and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Madhvendra Singh, who were also present at the function, shared Gen Vij's strong feelings on the issue.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) Delhi area Maj Gen Thomas Mathew, along with his wife, visited the victim to express regret over the incident.