Coast Guard DIG in spot for slapping junior

A senior officer of Indian Coast Guard in Andaman and Nicober Islands is in the dock for slapping his junior, raising questions over bad influence of stress in the armed forces even as Defence Minister A K Antony called for measures to bring stress levels down in the armed forces.

On August 29, Coast Guard Deputy Inspector General M A Warsi slapped an assistant commandant three times in front of other officers at the Coast Guard station in Port Blair. The smackings were so hard that blood started oozing out of the junior officer’s ears and had to be hospitalised.

Warsi, the Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard in Andaman, was irked by the young assistant commandant’s questions on operational issues. The DIG asked him to “shut up” till he finished his briefing. But as the commandant kept on asking, he slapped him, stunning everybody at the meeting.

The young officer did not comment or retaliate. But as the briefing resumed, he raised questions again. An angry Warsi hit him twice very hard after which blood started oozing out of his ear. The commandant was admitted in naval hospital INS Dhanvantari in Port Blair on the same day. On September 2, a board of inquiry was ordered and the DIG was transfered to the Coast Guard unit in Mumbai. The incident of blind rage in the armed forces came to the light on a day when Antony reviewed the working conditions in the armed forces to find out the reason behind the fratricide and suicide cases in the forces,  many of which are triggered by stress.

The minister asked the three services and Defence Institute of Psychological Research in Delhi to find out reasons behind increasing stress level among officers and steps need to be taken to bring it down.

While a stressed-out soldier or sailor or airman can seek advice and counsel from his senior officers, there are not much options for the officers, particularly those who are posted in forward units or in the high-seas.  The three services have also been instructed to pay immediate attention to leave application requests filed by soldiers. Antony would write to the Railway Minister asking him to ensure confirmed tickets for soldiers returning home.

In the last 12 years, Army lost 1,158 men out of which 1,082 died in fratricide while 76 were suicides.

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