The shocking videos of BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav alleging corruption by senior officers and showing sub-standard food being served to the soldiers have triggered sharp reactions from across the country. After the story was covered widely, the government initiated a probe into the matter. Though Yadav has become a talking point on social media, the BSF has countered his allegations by publicising his not-so-great service records, something Yadav anticipated in the video.
According to BSF, Yadav is a repeated offender who had in the past indulged in indiscipline and was even court martialed in 2010 on charges of aiming his gun at a senior officer. Dismissing the allegations of corruption levelled by Yadav, the BSF also maintained that food being served to the jawans are of good quality, though it might not taste good in winters as they are tinned and dry. Well, it seems that senior BSF officers have not seen Yadav’s videos showing the burnt chapati and the inedible daal.
The BSF may be right in criticising Yadav for his shoddy track record, but their timing appears inappropriate. One can imagine the toil our jawans go through while guarding our border in chilling conditions. And the least they can expect is a good meal after long hours of hard duty. That’s the least we can do.
What Yadav did will be considered gross insubordination by any establishment, Armed forces in particular. But should a jawan always ponder about his past, and future, before raising his voice against injustice? Well as an individual, Yadav was well within his rights to flag what’s wrong. There is good reason for his seniors to be irked, but they might be better off turning their ire on on those responsibile for ensuring that the jawans are taken care of wherever they are posted.
The welfare of our soldiers guarding the borders should be paramount for the government. And it must also protect their right to speak up against what is wrong, even within the forces. The government has ordered a probe into Yadav’s allegations. But strong action must also be taken against those who are trying to use his service record to show he has no right to play whistleblower and to divert attention from the core issue.