Has BSF scored a self goal by denying VRS to Tej Bahadur Yadav?

Border Security Force’s claim of conducting a ‘fair inquiry’ into corruption charges levelled by a constable on social media has run into fresh controversy with the constable’s wife raising questions

Photo courtesy: Facebook
Photo courtesy: Facebook

Ashutosh Sharma

Speaking over phone from Mahendragarh, Haryana, the wife of BSF constable Tej Bahadur Yadav on Thursday accused the Border Security Force of misleading the media about holding an inquiry into charges of corruption levelled by her husband on social media against a section of officers.

BSF on Thursday officially confirmed that the constable’s request for VRS had been ‘rejected’ pending a court of inquiry.

Sarmila Yadav, the constable’s wife, claimed that contrary to what the BSF had maintained, neither the Commandant of the 29th Battalion nor his second-in-command had been shifted to Tripura yet for the sake of a ‘fair inquiry’. “All claims of fair investigation is an eyewash. The officers accused by my husband are still there while they have placed my husband under detention, confiscated his mobile phone and have made his life miserable,” she said.

While the constable had posted videos on social media, BSF had earlier rejected his complaint. So, what is the inquiry all about? What’s more, the BSF has not commented yet on the videos or claimed them to be fake or forged. Finally, people are asking how many days are required to verify complaints about poor food supplied to jawans at a border post?

Her husband used someone else’s phone on January 31 when she spoke to him last, she said. At noon that day, he was told that his application for VRS had been approved but an hour and a half later, he was handed over a letter rejecting his plea for Voluntary Retirement from Service.

“Our son, who has been preparing for the IIT joint exam is not able to concentrate on studies. Everyone in our family including my husband’s old parents are deeply disturbed over threat to their son,” she lamented.

Forty-year-old Tej Bahadur Yadav has served the BSF for the last 20 years, is presently posted in the border district of Poonch in J&K.

Sharmila Yadav also posted an audio message from her husband on her facebook page.

In the audio clip Tej Bahadur Yadav appealed to the soldiers to share the information regarding corruption on a WhatsAap number. “I’ve been arrested and there is absolutely no probe being conducted. I am being mentally harassed and therefore I have decided to go on indefinite fast.”

He goes on to say, “I’ll prove all of my allegations....I have no animosity with the government. I am only against corrupt officers in the force...why is a jawan being persecuted for demanding food?”

It’s hard to understand why the BSF does not simply let Tej Bahadur Yadav go, which would be the easiest thing to do. Instead, by refusing him VRS, this controversy continues to simmer, even as Yadav’s appeal continues to resonate with sections of ex-servicemen. This is evident in a supportive blog on a Facebook page “Veteran Jawan”, operated by Nalin Talwar, who retired from the Air Force.

“Through my Facebook page, I have been campaigning against corruption in the forces and exploitation of jawans,” Nalin told NH over phone.

“In this audio recording, he (Tej Bahadur) expresses his faith in the government.... Is it so wrong for a Jawan to ask for two proper square meals a day? Tej Bahadur went public because the system failed him. If the system had worked as it should have, he would have never released the video on Facebook.”

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