Army Vice Chief Lt Gen S Pattabhiraman is under fire.
In the wake of the suicide of a woman army officer, Lt Sushmita Chakrabarty, in Jammu and Kashmir last week, Pattabhiraman had said, 'Ideally we would like to have 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.'
Even as Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee repudiated his comments and said women are doing a great job in the army, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party latched on to the controversy and demanded that Pattabhiraman be sacked.
On Monday, National Commission for Women chairperson Girija Vyas dubbed Pattabhiraman's comments as 'very irresponsible,' and said, "On such a policy matter [whether there should be women in the forces], it is for the government to decide and not for the chief or vice chief of the army to comment upon.'
Is the vice chief right, especially when he says he has based it on feedback from the lower formations? Or is it just a sexist comment, one that doesn't take into consideration the reality that gender stereotypes have no place in a modern society?