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Video Showing Indian Army Training Goes Viral. Is This Normal Practice?

Video Showing Indian Army Training Goes Viral. Is This Normal Practice?

Sunday, December 04, 2016

The latest video doing the viral rounds shows Indian Army cadets being tortured and it has obviously sparked off a debate on social media. Arguments range from defence of the practice as a way of “toughening up” juniors to condemnation of the actions under the premise that ragging of any sort is intolerable.

Although the video shows a cadet being beaten up with a stick or cane of some sort, this is not the most brutal form of abuse in the Army that has become public knowledge. Does that, however, legitimise a practice like this?

“There has to be a zero tolerance policy towards any form of ragging. Maybe in some units, depending on the nature of those in charge, some informal ragging happens but it’s not something that can be legitimised. This can leave open a space for sadism disguised as ‘toughening up’ of cadets and raw recruits,” says Air Vice Marshal (retired) Kamal Khanna, who served as the Deputy Commandant of the National Defence Academy (NDA), in Pune, in the early 90s.

Military academies are known to have techniques to ‘toughen’ up the new recruits. But where do you draw the line?

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“If a recruit does not perform well, then punching them is common. Some of these techniques are required in a military academy to toughen them up,” says a lady Flight Lieutenant serving in the Indian Air Force, on condition of anonymity.

When asked if these ‘mild’ forms of torture can pave the way for more brutality, she said:

We have enough faith in our instructors. We know they won’t cross the line.

Another lady Flight Lieutenant agrees with her colleague.

“Some form of punishment is given and it is required. Ab kissi ko peetna (beating somebody up) is not acceptable. That can’t be allowed for sure and I have personally never witnessed it around me,” she says.

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