April 20th, 2017
Tej Bahadur Yadav, the BSF jawan who had highlighted the poor quality of food through social media in January 2017, has been dismissed from service.
According to officials, Tej Bahadur was sacked on the basis of a report of a staff court of inquiry (SCoI) wherein he was found to have made false charges.
Charged against Tej Bahadur and the jawan’s reaction
The charges are:
- He made false allegations on social media regarding the quality of food;
- He did not adhere to the formal grievance redressal mechanism of the BSF;
- He disobeyed general orders of the Force when he carried two mobile phones while on operational duty and also posted photographs in uniform on social media – in violation of the rules.
“The action of dismissal of the jawan has been taken under the Border Security Force Act that is applicable to all the personnel serving in the paramilitary force,” a senior officer told The Times of India. “Yadav has been found guilty on certain charges of indiscipline including uploading the said video in violation of laid down procedures and rules. He has an option to appeal against the verdict within three months time.”
Tej Bahadur decried the move as “pre-meditated”. In an interview with India Today, he said that the jawans are considered inferior to officers and that he knew the BSF would court martial him sooner or later.
“I wasn’t given a fair trial. I wanted to call colleagues as witnesses but they never allowed me to call them. The entire court-martial proceeding was an eyewash. I tried to report corruption but no one listened to me. So I wanted to expose corruption from within the system. There are different quality of food items and clothing for the jawans and the officers. Jawans are treated as inferiors. The quality of food served to jawans improved by 70 per cent after my video went viral and I got a lot of support from my fellow jawans.”
Tej Bahadur’s videos
In a series of videos (can be watched here), BSF Tej Bahadur Yadav exposed the conditions our soldiers have to deal with every day due to the apathy of authorities higher up the chain of command. Underfed and ill-treated, Tej Bahadur revealed the unfair treatment meted out to them by their seniors.
In the videos, he said, “From morning to evening we work, standing in all weather conditions. No matter the rain, no matter the snow, in all conditions we do our duty … Neither the media nor any minister pay heed to our problems … For breakfast, we get one thin paratha with a little tea. For lunch, we get a little dal without haldi or salt and two thin rotis … I request you to share these videos far and wide so that the national media and ministers become aware of the injustice we face everyday at the hands of the authorities … We don’t want to put the blame on any Government. Because the Government has given everything to the Army. But authorities eat that such that we don’t get anything in the end. Again I say, stores are full but they go to bazaars … You tell me, can soldiers do their duty after eating such food?”
The videos were shared widely on social media. They also inspired similar videos from other soldiers across the country.
The BSF’s response
In response to the videos, the BSF said that Tej Bahadur’s claims couldn’t be taken seriously as he has had a “difficult past” and that he needed regular counselling.
“Different correction mechanics have been applied as he was a habitual offender of absenteeism without permission, chronic alcoholism, misbehaving and using force with superior officers and certain other acts against good order and discipline,” the BSF said in a statement. Later, the BSF ordered a probe.
— BSF (@BSF_India) January 31, 2017
The BSF also took to Twitter to give detailed instructions and developments on the condition of the soldiers (more here).
In February, the BSF rejected the application of voluntary retirement of constable Tej Bahadur Yadav three weeks after the jawan had posted a video on Facebook. After rejecting Yadav’s plea of Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), the BSF said that it has cancelled VRS, pending the Court of Inquiry (CoI) and finalisation of its recommendations”.
Now that Tej Bahadur has been dismissed, he has an option to appeal against the verdict within three months time.
— NBT Dilli (@NBTDilli) April 19, 2017
Tej Bahadur’s wife expressed dismay at the BSF’s decision. In a video shared widely on Twitter, she asked, “Will any mother now send her son to the Army? What was my husband’s fault that he was dismissed after 20 years of service?”
- Army Chief Says Complaining On Social Media Could Invite Punishment – Is This Right?
- BSF Rejects Voluntary Retirement Of Tej Bahadur Yadav Who Had Posted Video On Facebook
- After Soldiers Take To Social Media To Voice Grievances, BSF Issues Guidelines
- BSF Attacks The Character Of Soldier Who Highlighted Poor Treatment, Instead Of Giving Answers
- “अफसर बेच खाते हैं हमारा राशन, कैसे करें देश की रक्षा”: BSF Soldier Exposes The Unfair Treatment By Their Seniors