BSF’s inspector general D.K. Upadhyay, responding to the allegations, said, “I can’t comment on the allegations yet.
Srinagar/New Delhi: The BSF jawan who spilled the beans, quite literally, by uploading three videos on Facebook showing the pathetic condition of food served to the paramilitary troops, has been shifted from the Line of Control (LoC) to the headquarters of his 29 Battalion in Jammu and Kashmir’s frontier town of Poonch and allegedly assigned a plumber’s job.
BSF’s inspector general D.K. Upadhyay had said earlier at a press conference in Jammu that he will be shifted “so that there can be no pressure on him and a fair inquiry can be held.”
In Delhi, home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi sought a detailed report by Wednesday on the entire episode.
The home ministry has also directed all para-military forces, like the BSF, CRPF, CISF, ITBP and SSB, to conduct a detailed audit of the quality of food being served to their personnel in different units, specially in remote areas.
Home minister Rajnath Singh also ordered an inquiry into the jawan’s allegation that not only are the troops being served poor food, but that they had to starve on some days and go to bed on empty stomachs. Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said that both the BSF and the home ministry have ordered inquiries and that “any anomaly will be dealt with firmly” BSF constable Tej Bahadur Yadav stirred up a hornet’s nest as the videos shot by him went viral, gathering 2.6 million views and over 165,000 shares.
There was outcry across the country against the alleged ill-treatment meted out to troops defending the bitterly cold frontiers of J&K. A host of sports stars, from former cricketers Virender Sehwag to Mohammed Kaif, came out in his support of the jawan on social media. “Whatever said and done, our soldiers and farmers need to be taken better care of. Proper food needs to reach them all. #Food4Soldiers,” Sehwag tweeted.
“Hi plz share this as much as u can if you love ur jawans who r protecting us,” veteran off spinner Harbhajan Singh posted. “Really disturbed by the video of our soldiers being deprived of food. Pray that their needs are taken care of. #SaveOurSoldiers,” star boxer Vijender also tweeted.
BSF’s inspector general D.K. Upadhyay, responding to the allegations, said, “I can’t comment on the allegations yet. An inquiry has been ordered. If any lapses are found, strict action will be taken.”
He, however, did add, “The food may not taste great, but we have never received any complaint from jawans regarding the same. In winters tinned and dehydrated food is available. The DIG had visited the camp before, and had asked everyone including Yadav about the quality of the food served, but no complaints were received. Yadav’s intentions are probably different”.
He said that in the past too DIG-level officers have visited the camps, but had never received any complaint such as those levelled by Mr Yadav.
The BSF IG said that Mr Yadav was to be court-ma-rtialled in 2010 for indiscipline (he had reportedly assaulted a superior), but was not dismissed from service on compassionate grounds. He said that the jawan has a dodgy record, including “intoxication and insubordination”.
“His record is not good... intoxication, insubordination. Keeping his family in mind a lenient view was taken and he was not dismissed. He will be shifted to different headquarters so that there can be no pressure on him and a fair inquiry can be held,” he said. He added that there will also be an inquiry as to how Mr Yadav was carrying a mobile phone while on duty, which is against the guidelines.
The BSF, while seeking to downplay the charges, said in a statement said that Mr Yadav as an individual has a “difficult past”. It added, “From initial days of his career, he needed regular counselling. Different correction mechanics have been applied for the individuals welfare as he was habitual offender of absenteeism without permission, chronic alcoholism, misbehaving and using force with superior officers and certain other acts against good order and discipl-ine”. “The statement also said that because of such behaviour, Mr Yadav had mostly served in headquarters “under supervision of some dedicated superior officer.”
It claimed that he had been sent only 10 days ago to the (current) place of deployment, to support high altitude forward locations which he has shown in current selfie, on experimental basis to observe the improvements of past counselling.”