M A I N   N E W S

Lady Army officer shoots herself
First-ever incident involving a lady officer
Tribune News Service

Jammu, June 16
The Northern Command of the Indian Army has got embroiled in yet another controversy with a female officer shooting herself at Udhampur.

Importantly, the officer was commissioned in the Army just about eight months ago.

The 25-year-old Lieutenant Susmita Chakraborthy shot herself at the officers’ mess of the 5071 Army Service Corps (ASC) as she was reportedly “dissatisfied and unhappy with her job”.

The incident at the headquarters of the Northern Command in Udhampur follows closely another incident wherein a woman officer had complained that she had been molested by her senior officer.

The Army has ordered a Court of Enquiry into the suicide incident which is the first-of-its-kind involving a woman officer.

Brigadier K.K. Chopra, Commander of the 71 Sub-Area, told mediapersons at Nagrota today that the officer’s mother, Ms Sadhana Chakraborthy, had informed the Army authorities yesterday that during her two-month leave at Bhopal, her daughter made two futile attempts of suicide. He denied that she had any problem at the work place.

Brigadier Chopra said Lieutenant Susmita had been referred to Dr (Colonel) Vijay Pande, psychiatrist with the Command Hospital, Udhampur, for abnormal behaviour and depression. The late officer had four sittings with the doctor in March before she proceeded on leave, the Brigadier disclosed.

In his report, that was released to mediapersons, the doctor had pointed out that she was brought for counselling on March 20 with the history that “she was finding it difficult to cope with the service and was feeling frustrated, disillusioned and out of place in the present environment. There was no past history of mental illness”.

Colonel Pande has said, in the report,: “Mental-state examination revealed a clean, kempt, cooperative but tense individual who spoke relevantly.

“There was no psychosis. She was mildly anxious and depressed. She denied suicidal ideas but had feeling of worthlessness and low self-esteem.”

The officer had said: “I am not able to cope with my duties, others are so capable and good at their jobs. I want to excel in my job.”

She had mild obsessive traits in her personality. Sensorineural was clear and biodrives were not grossly impaired, the doctor said in his report.

Lieutenant Susmita, holding an MSc degree in Chemistry, belonged to Bhopal where her father, Mr P.B. Chakraborthy, was working with the BHEL. Her younger brother was studying in Class XII.

She had told her mother that she wanted to be a teacher and leave the Army.

Brig Chopra said she was granted 30-day annual leave from April 3 to May 2 that was subsequently extended by one month on her request.

She joined her duties on June 1, but her mother accompanied her from Bhopal because of her depression.

She committed suicide within 15 days of rejoining the duty. She was scheduled to proceed for the young officers’ course at Bangalore in July.

She took a weapon from the sentry of the mess and shot herself under the chin and died on the spot.

Her body was today dispatched to Bhopal after a post-mortem examination.



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