Indian Army orders court martial of jawan for airing grievances

Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh was due to retire on November 30. Instead, the Indian Army handed him a court martial order on the last day of his service.

Ashutosh Sharma

Court martial proceedings against Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh—who released videos on social media, accusing his seniors of harassment following his complaint to the Prime Minister and President about ‘exploitation’ of Army jawans—began at Fatehgarh, Uttar Pradesh on Thursday. He is currently stationed at Rajput Regiment Center.

“At around 12 PM, my husband (Yagya Pratap) was handed over the letter of court martial. We are expecting him to reach home today after the retirement,” Richa Singh, wife of Yagya Pratap told National Herald over phone.

“Why didn’t they (Army officers) took disciplinary action against him when he posted the video and wrote letters to the Prime Minister and President. This is an act of vendetta. They have ordered court martial proceedings on the day of his retirement,” she asserted, fearing for her husband’s life.

The Lance Nayak has released a new video in which he recalls Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s viral’ slogan – ‘Na Khaunga, Na Khaane dunga’ (will not engage in corruption myself, nor allow others): “I also raised voice against corruption, Mr. (Prime Minister) why are you getting me punished? Had I known the cost of speaking truth, I would never have raised my voice. But in my remaining life I’ll never muster enough courage to speak truth in the face of injustice again.”

“I’ve a wife, who suffers migraine attacks, and a child. She has written you (PM Modi) scores of letter but you haven’t cared enough to reply. I am son of farmer who has sacrificed 17 years of my life for the country,” he says in the video, with tears rolling down his eyes. “The same senior officers whom I’ve accused of corruption are conducting court martial against me. They tell me to commit suicide. I seek protection. My life is in danger. They can get me killed any time. They repeatedly tell me that files of Subash Chandra Bose were never opened, what’s your worth?”

Meanwhile, claiming threat to his life, he has written a letter to Fatehgarh SP demanding security. “I had written a letter dated June 16, 2016, and demanded that orderly system must be abolished in the Army. The Army hasn’t probed the matter and several attempts have been made at my life. After November 30, I will become a civilian therefore it’s your responsibility to secure my life,” the letter reads. His letter also mentions names of four senior officers from who have allegedly threatened him of dire consequences.

Earlier in January, the Lance Naik had raised voice against the British era practice—which the Army has refused to do away with—of posting jawans as orderlies with officers. “On June 15, 2016, I wrote to the Prime Minister, President, Home Ministry, the Supreme Court and the Human Rights Commission. This was about exploitation of jawans by senior officers,” said Yagya Pratap in a video released to the media by his wife, Richa Singh, adding that “subsequently, our office received a letter from PMO and it took our brigade by storm. Thereafter, my senior officers have started harassing me.”

“But in my letter, I hadn’t written anything against the Army. I didn’t pass on any sensitive document of the Army such as location of ammunition depots, maps or any kind of sensitive information,” he said, adding, “I just wrote a letter in which I urged that soldiers trained to defend the country shouldn’t be compelled to polish their officers’ shoes or walk their pet dogs. This practice needs to be done away with.”

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