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War widows complain of harassment

Two war widows from Punjab brought complaints of sexual harassment against a retired army official.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2007 17:56 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Two war widows from Punjab on Tuesday brought their complaints of sexual harassment against a retired army official to the National Commission for Women in the capital, a charge he strongly denied.

38-year-old Raj Kaur, widow of sena medal awardee Havildar Gurmail Singh, who died during an army operation in Assam, and Margaret Gill met NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas and submitted a memorandum alleging that retired Brigadier JS Jaswal repeatedly harassed them sexually at their work place in the Sainik Board office in Chandigarh and Bhatinda respectively.

Kaur alleged that on many occasions Jaswal, the Director of Sainik Board, Chandigarh, ushered her into his chamber and showed her pornographic material. On her refusal to give in to his advances, he gave her an adverse career report and blocked discretionary benefits, forcing her to seek transfer to Ropar, which was granted.

She accused Jaswal's personal assistant of "threatening" her on several occasions in this connection.

Gill, a Class IV employee in the Sainik Board's Bhatinda office, alleged she and her daughter were also victims of Jaswal's sexual advances.

However, when contacted in Chandigarh over phone, Jaswal denied the charges saying he "has done nothing wrong."

"An inquiry conducted against Raj Kaur by the SC/ST Commission on allegations that she used rascist abuses against my PA, had found her guilty.

"She was never directly working under me. I have never made any sexual advances towards her and these allegations have been levelled to scuttle departmental action after the commission report," Jaswal said.

Chairman of the Anti-terror Front and Congress leader MS Bitta, who accompanied the widows to the commission, said Vyas assured the delegation of prompt action.

"Vyas said a committee of four to five persons will be despatched to Punjab to look into the allegations," Bitta said.

Jaswal said Bitta was making false allegations against him to gain publicity ahead of the Punjab elections.

Chandigarh police on January 3 had registered a sexual harassment case against Jaswal under Section 506/509 of the IPC on Kaur's complaint.

First Published: Jan 09, 2007 17:56 IST