Friday, June 23, 2006

The Army in soup

First the pinch. "The comfort level to work with lady Army officers is low compared to their male counterparts and the Army can do without lady officers". Then the balm. The Army Vice Chief Lt Gen. Pattabhiraman apologises saying that the Army is proud of the performance of the lady officers.

But the saga doesn't end here. With the recent death of Lt Sushmita Chakravarty in Udhampur raises doubts about the unequal treatment that the lady officers are subjected to. Sushmita, as quoted from the letters by the National Women's Commission, was disgusted with the arrangemnets she had to make for the late night parties. Happy she was except that she was disappointed with the work culture in this male-dominated field.

Flashback to Flying officer Anjali Gupta's case. She had alleged cases of sexual harassment against three officers. The Chief, Air Marshal S P Tyagi started the probe. But things haven't changed much. And then Anjali was court-marshalled on charges of indiscipline and financial irregularities.

Back to the lop-sided behaviour within the Army. The story on the disproportionate salary scale of the lady officers compared to the men, in the Hindustan Times issue (June 23), keeps us wondering how the gender bias rules at large in the field, which is supposed to respect women the most. But high hopes.

When women are performing their best at all echelons of the society, Pattabhiraman's comment comes as a shock.

A Bench should try to find out about the level of corruption in the Army and the plight of the lady officers.

Hope the probe yields some results and puts an end to this inequality.

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