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Army Chief warns of crackdown after another video surfaces

A file photo of Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat on Sunday warned of action against personnel using social media to air their grievances instead of going through the regular channels. The warning comes a day after a second video of an Army jawan surfaced alleging discrimination by officers.

“A few colleagues are using social media to draw the media's attention to their problems. It affects the morale of the jawans and thereby the army... You can be held guilty of a crime... and get punished,” Gen. Rawat warned while addressing the Army Day parade in Delhi Cantonment.

In a related development, sources said the Defence Ministry had taken note of the incidents which they termed as “systemic issues”. Steps were being taken to address the issue as a whole. “There are thousands of units in place. It is difficult to monitor the issue at every level. Hence a mechanism needs to be put in place. The Ministry is working on it,” defence sources said.

Last week, Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh of 42 Infantry brigade expressed his grievances against the sahayak (orderly) system in the Army and spoke of soldiers being forced to “wash clothes, polish boots and walk dogs” for seniors. He also said he was being victimised by his superiors for complaining against the practice.

In his first formal media address after taking over as Chief, Gen. Rawat last Friday defended the sahayak system and announced a “suggestion and grievance” system to be put in place at all formations through which soldiers could reach him directly without their identity being disclosed.

In the latest video which surfaced on Saturday, nursing assistant Naik Ram Bhagat expressed concern against discrimination, saying: “It is not just his [Singh’s] pain. It is the pain of the whole Army.”

Naik Bhagat also came out in support of BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav, whose post on Facebook on January 9 complaining about the quality of food provided to the troops went viral and forced the government to order an investigation.

Backs BSF jawan

“The BSF jawan has spoken the absolute truth… ,” Naik Bhagat said in his video.

Talking of similar conditions in the Army, Naik Bhagat said the jawans only get a part of their entitled rations. “We are being given only up to 40 per cent of the menu allotted to us. Don’t know where the rest of the rations goes. Not only I but every jawan wants to express these sentiments but does not know where to speak, no one knows,” he says.

Endorsing Lance Naik Singh’s statement on the sahayak system, Naik Bhagat said: “More than half of the Army is involved only in walking dogs, particularly those of the officers…”

 

He also seconded Lance Naik Singh on the treatment of jawans employed as orderlies.

“More than half of the Army is involved only in dog walking and that too of the officers… Jawans are not given vehicle to drop from the unit when they proceed for leave. On the contrary, a Lieutenant, Major and seniors are not only given a car, but also a buddy to lift luggage for pick and drop. Why this discrimination with Jawans?” Naik Bhagat questioned.


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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 8:47:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Army-Chief-warns-of-crackdown-after-another-video-surfaces/article17040439.ece

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