People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 41

October 10, 2004

Text Of AIDWA Letter


Brinda Karat, general secretary. All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and Jagmati Sangwan, president, Haryana state committee of AIDWA have jointly written the following letter on September 15, 2004 to N C Vij, Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army regarding procedure for female recruitment in the army through the Service Selection Board (SSB).


WE write to you to draw your attention to a shocking procedure for female recruitment in the army through the Service Selection Board (SSB) with a request to intervene immediately. Candidates for the post of Lieutenant through the WSES(O) have to go through a series of medical tests before they can be cleared for appointment. These tests include ultra sound of the abdomen, gynaecological tests, surgical tests, ENT tests, blood and urine tests.  The women candidates are usually between the ages of 21 to 27 and are unmarried women. It has come to our knowledge that in two of the three centres, the tests are all conducted by male doctors, including the gynecological tests. These tests require examination of the breasts, genitalia and the anus. It is absolutely shocking and completely unacceptable that the  tests should be conducted by a male. When one of the candidates refused to be examined by a male doctor in the Allahabad centre and requested for the examination to be conducted by women doctor she was rudely dismissed by the senior person present one Lt. Colonel Turlapati (President, Special Medical Board, Allahabad). He told her that “the doctors only see and don’t touch”. He also said that if she had objections she should not have applied. Many of the other doctors also said the same thing. Only one doctor who conducted her general medical examination advised  her to go to Delhi for the gynecological tests.  However in Delhi she was told by the Lt. Colonel Deepak Kumar, (President Delhi base hospital) that the army will not work according to her wishes and that she had no reason to object since only the head of department who is a male is authorised to conduct these tests.


We also have a detailed report of the kind of testing which has been going on for last ten years. It is absolutely unacceptable in any civilised country to have young women subjected to intimate tests by male doctors.


We are writing to you for your immediate intervention. The young woman has also written to the army authorities on the issue. We enclose a copy of the form she has been given which clearly mentions her refusal to be checked by a male gynaecologist. Instead of appreciating her stand she has been ridiculed and humiliated.


We hope you will take immediate action.