A day after Border Security Force (BSF) constable Tej Bahadur Yadav uploaded a video where he alleged that troops were served bad quality food and some times had to go on an “empty stomach,” he was transferred to another location.
BSF officials claimed the transfer had been done to ensure a “fair probe,” even as they accused the jawan of being a “chronic alcoholic.” The BSF also ordered an enquiry and deputed a Deputy Inspector-General rank officer to check the veracity of the allegations levelled by Mr.Yadav. In a series of videos, which went viral on social media, Mr. Yadav claimed that while the government procures essentials for the forces and para-military, the higher-ups and officers “sell it off” in an “illegal” manner.
On Tuesday, the Home Ministry set BSF Director-General K.K. Sharma a deadline of Wednesday to submit the enquiry report.
BSF Inspector-General (IG) in Jammu D.K. Upadhyay said Mr. Yadav was sent for duty at the Line of Control, which is under the operational control of the Army, only on December 28 as many were on leave. He also said that for four years, Mr. Yadav was not given any field duty and was stationed in the headquarters. “Instead of putting a video on Facebook, we would have been happy had he come through the proper grievance redressal system,” said Mr. Upadhyay.
“I am amazed as on January 6, a DIG visited the unit and he didn’t complain of anything. His intent was something else and now it is obvious,” said Mr. Upadhyay.
In an interview to ABP News, Mr. Yadav refuted the the BSF IG’s claims and said he had “informed his current commander about the state of things about three to four times.”
He added, “Now is it wrong to put forth the truth if no action is being taken even after repeated complaints? I have only showed the people of the country the truth and I don’t think that is wrong.” On Tuesday, the BSF also revealed that Mr. Yadav had been court-martialed in 2010 for indiscipline and for aiming a gun at a senior officer.
“It is reality. He has many complaints against him including intoxication, insubordination, aiming a gun at a senior officer. He was court-martialed in 2010. But keeping in view his family and his children, he was not dismissed from the service but was given a rigorous imprisonment of 89 days. He had applied for a voluntary retirement from the force and was to leave the services on January 31,” Mr. Upadhyay said.
In the television interview Mr. Yadav admitted to have made the mistakes but said he had also received a gold medal for his performance. “Yes, I have been accused but if all of this is true, then you should also ask those accusing me that why did they then award me? I have been awarded 16 times and I have also won a gold medal for the best BSF all-rounder. I have recovered from all the punishments that I was given. I accept that I made mistakes. Humans make mistakes and that I did undergo punishments for them but then why was I given awards?” Mr. Yadav said.
In at least three different videos clocking over 4-minutes released online, Mr. Yadav also goes on to show the food that is allegedly being served to him. “We only get a ‘parantha’ and tea as breakfast and this is without any pickle or vegetables… we slog for 11 hours and at times we have to stand throughout the duty hours. For lunch, we get ‘dal’ (pulses) which only has ‘haldi’ (turmeric) and salt… with roti. This is the quality of the food we get… how can a jawan do his duty? I request the Prime Minister to get this probed… no one shows our plight,” he says in the video.
Responding to several claims that rations to the BSF are supplied by the Army, sources said on the LoC, which is manned by the Army, there are some BSF companies at several places. As these units are under the operational command of the Army, rations are issued to them as per their entitlement and laid down scales. The rations supplied are book debited for administrative purposes as they come under the Home Ministry.
“Ration is given by the Army but beyond that how it is utilised or cooked is up to them,” a senior officer said.
Sources said cooking is a local function within the company or unit. Even in the Army, each company has their own cook and separate langar to prepare food. The units are located in forward areas and take care of themselves.