Court of Inquiry to investigate harassment of woman Army captain

July 16th, 2008 - 6:24 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, July 16 (ANI): A Court of Inquiry has been set up by the Army to investigate the allegation of physical and mental harassment leveled by Captain Poonam Kaur of Kalka based ASC (Army Services Corps) battalion against her superior officers.

Capt. Kaur accused her seniors, including her commanding officer, of physically and mentally harassing her over the past few months. However, the Army has said that the allegations leveled by Captain Kaur are baseless.

Capt. Kaur was posted to Kalka on October 18, 2007 from Eastern theatre. During December, the officer requested for allotment of married accommodation on compassionate grounds.

Though she was unmarried and not authorised married accommodation, her case was sympathetically considered and a married accommodation was allotted to her, the Army said.

On June 30, the officer was ordered to move to Pathankot for commanding one of the detachments of her unit located there. She accepted to go to Pathankot but citing personal reasons, requested that her move be delayed till July 11, it further said.

On July 11 Capt. Kaur was again instructed to move, but she again requested that she be permitted to leave on July 12, which was also agreed.

However, on July 12 Capt Kaur refused to move to Pathankot, thereby disobeying legal and legitimate orders.

The Army said that on July 13 she asked for an interview with the Major General ASC HQ Western Command. Her request was accepted and she was granted an interview on July 14. At HQ Western Command she was asked to give her grievance in writing, but she refused and returned to her unit.

When Major General ASC visited the ASC battalion at Kalka on July 15 to meet the officer, Capt. Kaur refused to come out of her quarters to meet him.

The Army clarified that the officer has not been placed under any restrictions and is totally free to move around.

During her last posting at Misamari in Assam the officer had indulged in similar activities. She had refused to carryout her assigned duties and when questioned had alleged mental harassment, the Army said.

These were inquired into and disciplinary action was contemplated. Keeping in view of her young age and pleadings by her mother she was let off. However her mental weakness was recorded in her profile, it added.

Meanwhile, Capt Kaur alleged that her commanding officer Colonel R K Sharma, Lt Colonel Ajay Chawla and Major Suraj Bhan had physically and mentally harassed her after she turned down their physical advances.

She also accused them of keeping her in illegal confinement in her quarters at the Kalka military station.

Capt Kaur claimed the harassment has been going on ever since her posting to the ASC unit, Kalka, in October 2007.

She said her efforts to resolve the problem with the intervention of Army authorities failed on Tuesday, when her mother and younger brother, who were staying with her, were thrown out of the quarters and she was illegally detained there. (ANI)

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