In­dian diplo­mat in Kabul ac­cused of rape

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Sul­tan M Hali

BE­mail: sm_hali@ya­hoo.com RIGADIER S K Narayan, In­dian De­fence At­taché ac cred­ited to Kabul has re­port­edly been de­ported for rap­ing an Afghan fe­male, who had gone to the In­dian Em­bassy in pur­suit of ob­tain­ing schol­ar­ship. In­di­ans pres­sur­ized the Afghan gov­ern­ment not to raise a hue and cry and in­stead had the rapist re­turn qui­etly to In­dia. Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, the In­dian Em­bassy in Kabul had ad­ver­tised the award of schol­ar­ships for Afghan women. The vic­tim of the rape was tar­geted by the In­dian DA and raped.

This is not the first in­stance of rape at the hands In­dian army per­son­nel. In 2007 Ma­jor Gen­eral A.K. Lal had to face court mar­tial for rap­ing his sub­or­di­nate fe­male of­fi­cer in the In­dian Army. An Army court of inquiry (COI) found Ma­jor Gen­eral A K Lal, who was com­mand­ing a di­vi­sion on Si­noIn­dian bor­der in Ladakh, guilty of the charges lev­elled by Army Cap­tain Neha Rawat in a case filed in Septem­ber 2007, de­fence min­istry sources said. He was sec­ond Maj Gen rank­ing of­fi­cer this year to be tried in 2007. Ear­lier, a Ma­jor Gen­eral in Jaipur­based Western Army Com­mand was charged by CBI for al­legedly pos­sess­ing prop­erty dis­pro­por­tion­ate to his known sources of in­come.

In another case, which brought in­ter­na­tional ill re­pute to the In­dian Army, COI has been or­dered against the serv­ing Bri­gadier for al­legedly rap­ing a New York-based doc­tor-turned-en­tre­pre­neur last year. Bri­gadier Manoj Ti­wari, now serv­ing at the Army War Col­lege, is ac­cused of rap­ing a woman doc­tor last year when he was posted as the Mil­i­tary At­taché to In­dia’s Per­ma­nent Mis­sion to the United Na­tions. Then a Colonel, the of­fi­cer is ac­cused of pur­su­ing, ly­ing about his mar­i­tal sta­tus and then drug­ging her be­fore rap­ing her in his of­fice. Colonel Ti­wari re­turned home sub­se­quently and was pro­moted as Bri­gadier in the Army be­fore the com­plaint reached the In­dian Army.

The rape vic­tim, an Amer­i­can Physi­cian Dr Anu­rita Ka­pur, a sin­gle di­vorcee, hails from a pres­ti­gious royal family from In­dia. In her for­mal com­plaint, Dr Anu­rita states that she was ap­proached by then Colonel Manoj Ti­wari on In­dia’s Repub­lic Day event on Jan­uary 26, 2012 at the In­dian Con­sulate in New York. Colonel Ti­wari be­gan chas­ing her inces­santly, mak­ing ex­cuses to drop in on her, show­er­ing words of praise on her. The In­dian Army of­fi­cer, who had been plan­ning his move for weeks, fi­nally had his chance one day, when he tricked Anu­rita to visit his of­fice. He served her drugged tea, when she was se­dated, he raped her.

In another high pro­file rape case in the In­dian Army, Lieu­tenant Colonel Dilip Singh Shekhawat has been ar­rested on charges of rap­ing a woman of­fi­cer af­ter dup­ing her. The Ut­tarak­hand po­lice nabbed Lieu­tenant Colonel Dilip Singh Shekhawat from his home town Jhun­jhunu in Rajasthan, where he had gone on a two-month leave, and brought the ac­cused to Dehradun. The woman of­fi­cer also claimed that the of­fi­cer was al­ready mar­ried and had not re­vealed his mar­i­tal sta­tus to her.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, a woman of­fi­cer, who is also serv­ing as Lieu­tenant Colonel in the Med­i­cal Corps, lodged a com­plaint with the Dehradun po­lice in April 2012, charg­ing Lieu­tenant Colonel Shekhawat of fre­quently rap­ing her and cheat­ing her by con­duct­ing a bo­gus mar­riage in a tem­ple. The lady of­fi­cer is presently serv­ing at the Mil­i­tary Hos­pi­tal in Dehradun, while Shekhwat is posted at NCC Ut­tarkashi. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, Lieu­tenant Colonel Shekhawat had met the lady of­fi­cer last year in Dehradun when he was in the city for Repub­lic Day camp of the NCC.

Ac­cord­ing to renowned daily “In­dian Ex­press”, a South African woman has ac­cused In­dian peace­keep­ers in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo of rap­ing her while on leave. South African po­lice de­tained three In­dian army of­fi­cers work­ing with United Na­tions peace­keep­ing forces in the Cen­tral African na­tion on March 12, 2008. The men were re­leased and In­dia’s De­fence Min­is­ter AK Antony has asked for a re­port on the in­ci­dent, the news re­port said. The woman said the men raped her while they were on hol­i­day in South Africa, the re­port said. A South African del­e­ga­tion brought the mat­ter to the at­ten­tion of In­dian au­thor­i­ties in New Delhi. There are cur­rently about 17, 600 peace­keep­ers in the DRC—al­most a quar­ter of them In­dian—oversee­ing the tran­si­tion from a dev­as­tat­ing civil war in which mil­lions died. In­dian peace­keep­ers in the DRC have also been ac­cused of trad­ing in gold and guns with Con­golese mili­tia they were meant to be dis­arm­ing. In­dian mil­i­tary of­fi­cers de­ployed in In­dian Oc­cu­pied Kash­mir or other ar­eas of con­flict have fre­quently been ac­cused of gang rape of women but they es­cape in­car­cer­a­tion, hid­ing be­hind the dra­co­nian and black law, the Armed Forces Spe­cial Pow­ers Act (AFSPA).

Take the 2015 case of Karbi An­g­long in As­sam. On 6th April, an In­dian Army reg­i­ment en­tered a vil­lage in Karbi An­g­long, and mo­lested and in­jured many women. Around eight jawans car­ried off a 15 year old girl into the for­est; when her mother and another woman rushed to res­cue her, the jawans raped all three. An ICDS worker who tried to in­ter­vene was also in­jured, and a three-yearold baby was hit with the butt of a ri­fle. Al­though protests have been on­go­ing in Karbi An­g­long ever since the rape, none of the jawans have been ar­rested – the po­lice say they can­not make an ar­rest be­cause of the AFSPA. In­stead, the vic­tims are be­ing pres­sur­ized and ter­ror­ized into with­draw­ing their com­plaints.

Moral turpi­tude has plagued the whole of In­dia and the In­dian army is no ex­cep­tion. Read­ers may re­call the 2012 case of the fe­male stu­dent who was gang-raped on a bus and later died at a Sin­ga­pore hos­pi­tal had raised pub­lic out­cry. Ear­lier, an old nun had been gang raped. In­dian lead­er­ship should take cog­nizance of the grow­ing in­stances of rape rather than brush­ing evil un­der the car­pet. —The writer is re­tired PAF Group Cap­tain and a TV talk show host.

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