BSF constable Tej Bahadur Yadav, whose complaint in January about bad food at his unit had triggered a row, will appeal in the high court against his dismissal on Wednesday.
The constable was sacked after a three-month trial at a summary court martial, which held that he had tarnished the BSF’s image by uploading cell phone videos on social media of burnt parathas and watery dal served at his post along the India-Pakistan border.
“I have been dismissed from service, and will now appeal in the high court. Hope I get justice. I have full faith in the judiciary. This is what happens when you say the truth? Happening for years now,” Yadav said.
Wife Sharmila, who lives with the couple’s son in Haryana’s Rewari, alleged that the dismissal was a planned move to muzzle the voice of soldiers.
“They have shown all jawans that they will face the same fate if they ever raise their voice against anything wrong. They are being taught to quietly suffer,” she said.
The soldier lost his job when his father is recuperating from a heart surgery at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon.
“Ever since fake images showing he was dead started circulating, my father-in-law’s heart trouble grew. He doesn’t know that Tej Bahadur has been dismissed,” Sharmila said.
Yadav has alleged that soldiers at the frontline were served substandard food as senior officers sell their rations on the sly.
The videos triggered widespread outrage, but the BSF dismissed his allegations and called him a repeat offender “who had issues with intoxication and discipline”.
But home minister Rajnath Singh asked the BSF to look into the issue and ordered a probe.
BSF additional director general Kamal Nayan Choubey visited forward posts on the Line of Control, the de facto India-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir, on March 10 and took stock of the food and clothing provided to the men.
Yadav, who was with the BSF’s 29 Battalion, was dismissed by the Summary Security Force Court (SSFC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba after the internal inquiry found him guilty of making false accusations and neglecting orders from his senior officers. His plea for voluntary retirement was rejected.
He and his family maintained that he hasn’t done anything wrong.
“Is it a crime to complain about food? He did it for his force. It’s because of him that the BSF has now started serving good food to the jawans,” said Sharmila, who visited her husband’s camp for two days in February.
She alleged that the inquiry was one-sided, biased, and inappropriate.
“I am a little happy, though. He won’t have to go through any more torture, and we will not have to go through any more worries of his well-being,” she said.
“We have ticked off the plan to send our son to join the armed forces. This move by the BSF will discourage many like us.”