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Women's panel criticises Army Vice-Chief's remarks

Vyas said women could not be prevented from joining the Army. She asked for more gender sensitisation programmes in the Army.

india Updated: Jun 18, 2006 20:32 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

National Commission for Women Chairperson Girija Vyas on Sunday criticised Army Vice Chief Lt Gen K Pattabhiraman's remarks that the force could do without women, saying he should "take his words back."

"The need of the time is that there should be more sensitisation in the Army because it is a...New field for women," Vyas told a private news channel.

"We were not expecting this statement from the Army. And I think he (Pattabhiraman) should take his words back," she said.

In the wake of the alleged suicide of 25-year-old lady officer Lt Sushmita Chakraborty at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, Pattabhiraman was quoted by a newspaper as saying that, "Ideally, we would like gentlemen and not lady officers at the unit level.

"Feedback from lower formations suggests that comfort levels with lady officers are low. We can do without them."

Vyas said women could not be prevented from joining the Army. "But there should be more gender sensitisation programmes and schemes in the Army. There is a need for women to (join) the Army and nobody can stop it," she said.

The Army, however, has said Pattabhiraman was "misquoted" and it was the government's policy to encourage women to join the military. There are currently over 900 women officers in the Army.

First Published: Jun 18, 2006 20:32 IST