Allegations of sexual misconduct by Indian peacekeepers in Congo four years ago have been found to be true in at least one case, bringing disrepute to the Indian Army.
Complaints about Indian troopers fathering children in Congo were forwarded by the United Nations to the army headquarters.
A court of inquiry concluded in Meerut recently has found enough ground for disciplinary action against a jawan. It is learnt that his DNA sample matched with one of the children born to a Congolese woman.
Three other army men, including a major, have been charged with control and command failure and administrative action has been recommended against them.
Though the complete report of the probe is yet to be declared, its conclusion, shared by the army authorities, points to the fact that other accused officers and jawans have been given a clean chit.
An entire battalion of the Sikh regiment was under the scanner following the startling revelations about sexual misconduct by four women. The allegations gained ground after children with distinct Indian features were delivered by the women.
India takes pride in the fact that it is one of the biggest contributors to the UN peacekeeping missions, but its participation in Congo has remained controversial with reports of misconduct surfacing from time to time.
The army’s internal mechanism is such that any breach of discipline does not go unpunished. In this case, too, a court of inquiry was promptly ordered which looked into the conduct of 12 officers and 39 jawans.
The court collected the DNA samples of all the officers and jawans to ascertain the veracity of the complaints. As it turned out, one of the DNA samples matched with a child in Congo.
The Congo sex scandal has also been in news because of the name of current army chief General Bikram Singh being dragged into the controversy.
General Singh was the deputy force commander in Congo when the incidents of sexual misconduct allegedly took place.
The government, however, gave him a clean chit and cleared his appointment to the top post in the army, replacing General V.K. Singh whose tenure was mired in controversy over his date of birth.
Until the findings of the court of inquiry are shared, it would be difficult to establish the extent of the “misconduct” as the victims are in Congo. Also, it remains to be seen if all the children born out of such encounters have been taken into account.
The findings of the court of inquiry would be approved by the army headquarters, after which the punishment of the guilty will be pronounced.
One of the victims had claimed that the Indian Army personnel used to meet her in a hotel in Goma. The army man would give her gifts and also pay money. Most of the victims are said to be from extremely poor families.
-via India Today.