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Woman officer files misconduct charges against general
A K Dhar in New Delhi | September 05, 2007 21:10 IST
Already faced with rising complaints of sexual harrassment, the army has been rocked by yet another case, with a young woman officer levelling misconduct charges against no less than a general commanding a division on the Chinese border.
Captain Neha Rawat, a signal officer based in the frontier garrison town of Leh in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir [Images], has filed a statutory complaint alleging misconduct by the General Officer Commanding the Leh Division Major General A K Lal.
The complaint was registered even as Defence Minister A K Antony told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the government took serious congisance of such allegations and had put in place a redressal mechanism to probe such charges.
Rawat's written complaint, which has sent ripples among the personnel of the Leh-based division, was forwarded to the Army Northern Commander Lt Gen H S Panag.
As the issue involved a high ranking army officer, it reached the army headquarters.
"Army headquarters has taken a serious view of the complaint and ordered an immediate investigation," senior officials told PTI.
Neha's complaint is the fourth such one to have been filed by women officers in the armed forces. The court of inquiries which went into these allegations did not find substance in earlier cases.
Three women army officers have commited suicide during the last two years and all these cases are being probed from a sexual harassment angle.
This is the second case of misconduct involving a general to have occured in the Leh division. In the late '80s, a major general commanding the division was cashiered from service after he was found moving around with a German woman.
Earlier in the day, the defence minister had said in Parliament that the government took such complaints very seriously.
He said new measures had been put in place to stop recurrence of such incidents and listed them.
These include instructions to commanders at all levels to be "more sensitive" in assigning tasks to women officers.
Provision of honourable working environment for women officers, being sensitive to constraints faced by lady officers in performing certain specified tasks and to keep in mind displayed aptitudes when assigning core duties were among the instructions.
"Women officers are also free to approach their commanding officers or supervisors at any time to discuss their personal and official problems to seek immediate assistance," the minister told the Lok Sabha.