The Government’s summary dismissal of charges of corruption levelled by several jawans of BSF, CRPF, CISF and the Army, and the Army chief’s warning seem to have had no effect if two more videos that surfaced on Republic Day are any indication.
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was paying tributes to soldiers who laid down their lives at the Amar Jawan Jyoti near India Gate in the national capital, Sarmila Yadav, the wife of Tej Bahadur Yadav, whose videos on Facebook had gone viral, and another BSF Jawan Navratan Choudhary took to social media to vent their grievances.
Choudhary, posted somewhere in Gujarat, accused BSF officers of selling liquor meant for jawans to civilians.
“The Prime Minister boasts that he takes action on even silent complaints against corruption. Here I am registering my complaint against senior officers openly,” he can be heard saying in the video.
“…Senior officers of BSF’s 150th battalion stationed in Gujarat, have been selling liquor meant for jawans to civilians,” he alleged, and in support of his contention posted a video in which a man in civilian clothes is seen carrying liquor bottles. While the video alone is not sufficient evidence to substantiate his charges, he goes on to complain that jawans had no freedom to raise their voice against corruption.
A series of approving comments follow on his Facebook wall. Says one Dinesh Mehta, “Gandhidham is a hub of corruption when it comes to selling liquor by BSF personnel. Most of the liquor is sold to civilians. Our commandant also used to sell liquor outside when our unit was at Gandhidham from 2012 to 2016 which I reported but ended up with 60 days of rigorous imprisonment in custody.”
On the same day, Sarmila Yadav, the wife of Tej Bahadur Yadav from BSF’s 29th Battalion, posted a video made during a telephone conversation she had with her husband. He was depressed, she alleged, because on Republic Day he was not allowed to move out of the barracks. Sarmila Yadav said that if authorities did not release him under VRS and if the PM failed to order an inquiry into his allegations by the NIA or CBI, he would sit on an indefinite fast.
A visibly worried Sarmila Yadav goes on to allege that her husband had been forced to apply for VRS but has now been detained after he publicly accused a senior officer of selling provisions meant for jawans in the market. While both the officer and Yadav were posted out, the MHA had rubbished the allegation.
She recalled, “When I asked him about Republic Day celebrations over there, he said: ‘I’ve been serving in BSF for the past 20 years. But today [for the first time on Republic Day] I spent my day sitting in a corner silently’”.
“All of us now want my husband to return home,” she said and added, “If my husband is not given the benefit of VRS, he would go for hunger strike from second onwards. [February 2]. I request citizens of my country and the Prime Minister with folded hands to support and help my husband.”