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Sex Workers to Soothe Soldiers in Kashmir

Pakistan's The Daily Mail reports that the Indian army has deployed approximately 200 prostitutes to Indian-occupied Kashmir to tend to the “genuine and natural needs” of male soldiers. According to the Pakistani news source, the decision was approved by Indian Army Chief General Kapoor in response to alarmingly high incidents of violence, suicide and mental health challenges among troops stationed in the area.

The paper reports that “authoritative sources” confirm that the Indian army used consultants to arrive at this create solution and that Major General Kumar visited Moscow to learn from the Russians who faced similar wartime issues in the 1980s. Kumar supposedly returned with the suggestion that women be provided to soldiers to boost their medical and mental health. A committee was formed to recruit professional sex workers and provide them with basic military training.

While 178 female members of the Indian army were recently deployed to Kashmir, India is fuming at the allegations. "It is clearly a story written under a pseudonym, planted by the ISI to demoralise the new women-only contingent. Psychological warfare is not new for the Pakistanis," explains an Indian home ministry official. The deputy inspector general of the Border Security Force, Jagir Singh, calls the Pakistan Daily Mail’s story, an "insult to Indian women.” He adds, "These women are aged 19-25 and most of them are from small towns and villages of Punjab. You can imagine the demoralising effect it can have on them."

India’s Home Minister, P Chidambaram, is lodging a formal complaint with Pakistan's High Commission in response to The Daily Mail’s story. The paper, however, is standing behind its story and the editor-in-chief, Makhdoom Babar Sultan, accuses India’s leadership of violating the rights of freedom of press and freedom of expression. “In the 62 years of the history of Pak-India relations, The Daily Mail is the first ever victim of this kind of aggression from the Indian government.”

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