NEW DELHI: Another army jawan has joined the chorus against ‘ill-treatment’ being given to them by seniors. On Tuesday, the sepoy who identifies himself as Sindhav Jogidas, from Army Medical Corps has uploaded a video alleging that jawans are provided with lowest quality fruits and vegetables in many units and complained about the poor treatment meted out to some of them by their seniors. He also alleged that he was forced to be a Sahayak as a punishment for joining late. He has even approached the Prime Minister’s Office about his case but alleged harassment for raising his voice.
However, late on Tuesday afternoon, army headquarters came out with a detailed statement and denied allegations levelled by him.
Army said that Sepoy Sindhav Jogidas Lakhubahi employed in Army medical corps in the trade of ‘Housekeeper’. He has rendered nearly three years of service in the Army.
“It must be noted that the individual has never been employed as ‘Buddy’ of any officer or JCO nor has he ever been asked to perform such duty. His allegations related to this and ill-treatment of jawans by superiors are false and baseless,” Army said.
Jogidas’s issue came in the backdrop of Lance Naik Roy Mathew, whose body was found in a barrack in Deolali Cantonment in Maharashtra and he has reportedly exposed ‘buddy system’ in the army. Roy Mathew was seen in a video shot by a news website as a sting operation, during which he narrated the woes of soldiers. The video showed soldiers attached to senior officers for "buddy duties" walking their dogs or taking their children to school.
According to a statement issued by its spokesperson, Colonel Aman Anand said that initial posting at Military Hospital (MH) Ranikhet, Sepoy Sindhav was late in rejoining duties after availing leave for 2015. He was awarded Pay Fine for unauthorised absence from duty.
The statement also reads that the Sepoy applied for premature release from the Army for which his application was duly processed. The AMC Records, considering his limited service, advised counselling of the individual before taking the final decision. After the counselling, the individual changed his mind and decided to continue in service. He, however, sought to post to a ‘field’ location.
Army officials also maintained that subsequently, while still at MH Ranikhet, he, while on duty at the ICU, refused to obey instructions of Duty Nursing Officer to clean ‘bed pan’ of a bed-ridden patient at the hospital. It is to be noted that the task which he refused to perform, was a mandated task of his trade of Housekeeper. “For this act of indiscipline, the Sepoy was awarded seven days imprisonment within the Unit,” Army said.
His series of complaints to higher authorities were independently investigated through a ‘One-Man Inquiry (OMI)’ and were found to be baseless.
Army added: “It may also be noted that even in an earlier instance of a jawan putting allegations through a video uploaded on social media, of ill-treatment of ‘Buddies’, the said jawan also had never ever been employed as ‘Buddy’ of any officer or JCO in his 15 years of service. The media must, therefore, verify the factual information from the Army before going public on such issues that cast defamatory allegations on the institution of Indian Army.’
Early in the morning, the jawan uploaded the video on social media.
He claimed to have had written to the PMO in January 2016 highlighting all his complaints but disciplinary action was taken against him in response to this. “Do baar court of inquiry bithai gayi, ek saal tak mujhe harassment kiya gaya,” he adds. (Court of inquiry was held twice and I was harassed for two years.)
Series of video showing jawans working in poor conditions went viral on social media like Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh describing menial jobs as a sahayak went viral in January.
Lance Naik Singh, alleged that he was forced to wash clothes, polish boots and walk dogs for his seniors. He flagged his complaint to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others in a letter.