An army jawan from Kerala was found dead near his camp in Nashik, barely a few days after he accused senior officers of harassment, his family members said on Friday.
The body of gunner Roy Mathew was recovered on Thursday near his camp in Maharashtra.
Though the army believes it to be a case of suicide, family members of 33-year-old Mathew said they suspect foul play. They have demanded a probe into the circumstances leading to his death.
The alleged suicide comes amid of a spate of allegations of poor working conditions and harassment faced by jawans in the armed forces.
Roy went missing on Monday, a day after calling up his wife at Kollam to say that he had made a “big mistake”, an apparent reference to an interview he had given to a local television channel accusing senior officers of mistreatment at the Nashik camp.
His interview to a Marathi language channel was aired on Monday.
Though the channel had promised to keep his identity a secret, Roy told his wife, his senior officials came to know about it. Roy’s wife, Fini Mathew, said after the call he was incommunicado for last three days.
“The CO (commanding officer) informed us that a body similar to that of Roy has been found and it was shifted to a hospital for post-mortem. Other than this we haven’t received any other information,” Roy’s brother John Mathew said.
Family members said they had contacted Nashik district administration but were told it was yet to receive any official communication from the army on his death.
According to family members of Mathew Roy he often complained to his wife about the alleged “slavery” prevailing in the unit. Often junior level employees were forced to do domestic work at officer’s residences.
Though the army had made it clear last year that it was planning to stop the “sahayak post” the system continued without any hindrance, he told his wife. He also said though some of the employees were happy do all errands including gardening and rearing dogs of the officers he simply hated to do such menial jobs.
Roy’s wife has petitioned chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeking his intervention over the issue.
Roy had travelled to his home on December 3 and returned to Nashik on December 23.
He joined army 13 years ago and was working as a gunner with the 214 Rocket Regiment in Nashik for the past one year.