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The Times of India insinuates that Indian army officers asked for ‘sexual favours’ from Kargil war widows, changes clickbait headline after outrage

The accusations of sexual harassment levelled by wife of Kargil war martyr Indu Singh were directed towards State government officials and not officers in the Indian army.

On Thursday (27th June), ‘The Times of India’ suggested that Indian army officers had sought sexual favours from the wives of soldiers, who were martyred during the Kargil War of 1999.

The popular Indian English daily made such an insinuation through an article’s clickbait headline, which goes as ‘We Kargil widows “were easy targets for officers to satisfy lust”.’

The cunning choice of words, in the headline, suggested that widows of fallen soldiers of the Kargil War were somehow preyed upon by officers within the Indian army to satisfy their lust.

Screengrab of the controversial headline by The Times of India

However, a thorough reading of the article makes it clear that those who solicited sexual favours from the victims were not army officers but employees at government offices.

According to The Times of India, a 60-year-old woman named Indu Singh faced harassment and unwanted sexual advances at government offices for several years instead of support during crisis.

She is the widow of martyred Border Security Force (BSF) Inspector Inderjeet Singh. Singh informed that a government officer in Meerut, had misbehaved with her, out of lust. The accused had even inappropriately touched her with his feet.

Govt officer suspended after intervention of LK Advani

“The officer was given the task of overseeing land allotment for construction of the memorials of martyrs in their respective villages. She says the officer even touched her with his feet when she was sitting in front of him for some help in connection with the allotment,” the report added.

As per the English daily, the said officer was suspended after Indu Singh approached the then Union Home Minister LK Advani in 2001.

The report by The Times of India added, “Following the officer’s inappropriate actions and hearing stories from other war widows about officers’ demeaning attitude towards them, Indu says she decided to approach the then Union home minister LK Advani in 2001 to complain against the officer. It was after Advani’s intervention that the officer was suspended.”

Not an isolated case: Indu Singh

Indu Singh also narrated another incident where an officer at government-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) misbehaved with her as well.

The sexual advances made by officers at government offices included double meaning talks, forcing widows to sit next to them or making them stay late.

She told the Indian English daily, “I was educated and objected to the act on every occasion, but the majority of young widows, who were illiterate and from rural areas without any exposure to the outside world, were harassed.

According to Indu Singh, the government officers regarded widows as “easy targets”. She told The Times of India, “I witnessed a complete lapse of morality during the initial days of widowhood.”

The Times of India changes headline after outrage

As evident from the content of the article, the accusations of sexual harassment levelled by wife of Kargil war martyr Indu Singh were directed towards State government officials and not officers in the Indian army.

However, The Times of India chose to mislead its readers into believing otherwise especially those who may not have the patience to read the article in its entireity. Following social media outrage, the Indian English daily was forced to change its headline.

“We Kargil widows “were easy targets of govt officers’ unwanted advances”,” the new headline of the article read.

While there is no dearth of clickbait articles in Indian media sphere, it was disappointing to see a prominent English daily resort to misleading tactics to grab eyeballs.

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Duttahttps://dibakardutta.in/
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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