I haven’t heard this incident from or about the Indian army. I have witnessed this first hand.
I had a chance to visit Tawang during my trip to Arunachal Pradesh around 5 months back. I got to visit Bum-La, which marks the Line of Actual Control with China.
The place is situated at an altitude of 15,200 feet (4,600 m) and is snow bound almost all the year round. The terrain is beautiful but harsh. There is a heavy army presence there. Apart from providing the military muscle that is required there, the army also partakes in aiding the civilians. Frequent landslides plague the area. These are tackled efficiently and promptly by the army personnel.
When we reached there, we had to get off our vehicles and walk up to the snow covered pass. The point where we disembarked had washroom facilities for both men and women. The ladies washroom had a shorter queue due to the lesser number of women tourists that day. A few of the local taxi operators took advantage of the situation and went to use the washrooms meant for women.
They were spotted by one of the army personnel and were reprimanded for this. The officer politely tried to explain that women might feel threatened by male presence while visiting the loo, especially since it was located in a secluded area. Being locals, they knew the location of the men’s washroom and so, shouldn’t have indulged in this irresponsible behaviour.
And lo and behold! The taxi operators ganged up on the poor officer and started abusing him. From union threats to filthy abuses, it just kept on escalating! All the while, the officer remained calm yet firm in his retaliation. There were many army personnel around who could have quashed these hooligans and their aggressive attitude. Yet they refused to use force and displayed remarkable restraint.
There was an officer from North India who was conversing with me when this happened. I asked him “ Veerji, aap log inse sakthi kyun nahi karte? Karara jawaab dijiye!” (Brother, why don’t you deal with these people strictly? Give them a befitting reply!) And he calmly replied…”Puttarji, theek toh hum do minute mein kar de inhe. Par yeh vardi jo pehan rakhi hai. Iss liye hath bandhe hue hain.” (Child, we can straighten them in two minutes. But our hands are tied as we have donned this uniform.) We wanted to go and intervene, but were stopped as this could have caused issues for us as tourists.
This is the Indian army! Forever at our service. Nation first, self later. Self sacrificing. Yet facing abuses at the hands of some nincompoops! These incidents happen very often according to the officer with whom I interacted, especially in sensitive areas. We owe our peace and freedom to these men in uniform. The least we can do is respect and support them!
It’s easy to fight the external enemies. It’s the one within that’s difficult to deal with. We Salute the men who guard and who know how to behave when their uniform is donned.
This answer was shared by Rachna Seth on Quora and we republish here by her permission.