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No `sahayaks` for Army officers: Parliament panel

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 19:00

New Delhi: Rejecting Defence Ministry`s
argument that the practice of providing `sahayaks` to Army
officers must continue, a Parliamentary panel on Wednesday said
the Army must abolish employing jawans as orderlies.

The panel also expressed "anguish" over the
"disrespect" shown to it by the Army by misquoting its report
on the issue.

The Committee, in one of its reports in 2010, had asked
the Army to take a leaf out of the Navy and the Air Force and
abolish the "demeaning and humiliating" practice of employing
jawans as `sahayaks` to the officers. Sahayaks were earlier
known as orderly/batman, a legacy of the British era.

Thousands of trained soldiers in the Army are provided
as assistants to officers and Junior Commissioned Officers
(JCOs), and the Defence Ministry had argued before the panel
that `sahayaks` help officers in communications and other
tasks during operations.

"We are not convinced with the view of the Ministry and
feel that the practice of sahayaks is not present in the Navy
and Air Force and this practice should be abolished in Army
also," the Satpal Maharaj-led Committee said in its report
tabled today.

The panel said that its recommendations in the report
on `Stress Management in Armed Forces` were misquoted by
Army`s AG Branch in its circular which stated that abolition
of practice of employing sahayaks would not be in
organisational interest.

"This was not even commented upon as such in our
report. Not only that the Defence Ministry too didn`t notice
the misreporting of the recommendations made by the
Committee," it said.

Seeking an explanation from Defence Ministry, the panel
said, "We place on record our anguish over the disrespect to
one of our important recommendation."


First Published: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 19:00
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