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Weeks before BSF video, govt told soldiers not to post videos, photos online

The government had barred security personnel from posting details of service and operational matters on social media, barely a few weeks before a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan’s Facebook videos of “poor food” served in a Jammu and Kashmir camp went viral.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2017 13:47 IST
Jatin Gandhi
In videos uploaded on Facebook, BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav claimed that while government procures essentials for them, the higher-ups and officers “sell it off” in an “illegal” manner in the market.
In videos uploaded on Facebook, BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav claimed that while government procures essentials for them, the higher-ups and officers “sell it off” in an “illegal” manner in the market. (Facebook/Tej Bahadur Yadav)

The government had barred security personnel from posting details of service and operational matters on social media, barely a few weeks before a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan’s Facebook videos of “poor food” served in a Jammu and Kashmir camp went viral.

Sources said the jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav could face disciplinary action in light of the circular sent out by the home ministry to the directors general of all central armed police forces (CAPFs) including the BSF, CRPF and Assam Rifles on November 28.

Read | BSF jawan video: Govt takes ‘serious note’, says welfare of soldiers a priority

The CAPFs are deployed in sensitive areas, including international borders, insurgency, militancy and Maoist-affected zones.

The communiqué said sharing videos and pictures without permission will invite action against personnel under the service rules because it violates the ministry’s national information security policy. HT has a copy of the document.

“The popularity of social media creates opportunities, challenges and risks,” said the confidential note on “guidelines for upload of material on social media”.

Read | Why did BSF jawan cross the ‘discipline lakshman rekha’? Only an inquiry can say

The ministry said there had been instances in the past of personnel using their mobiles or cameras to capture operational details or sensitive material and uploading them on social media.

“CAPFs are directed that instructions may be issued to ensure no photos, videos, text, information of operations, service matters are uploaded on social media or passed on to the print or electronic media without the due approval of the concerned DG or this ministry,” the ministry’s letter said.

“In case any violations of these or other standing orders are noticed, strict action should be initiated against the defaulters,” it added.

Sources said the “unambiguous” instructions are likely to form the basis of action against Yadav apart from probing allegations made by him.

Yadav – attached to the BSF’s 29th battalion posted along the Indo-Pakistan border -- posted four videos on social media that sparked widespread outrage.

The videos purportedly showed burnt parathas, watery dal and poor food arrangements for the soldiers. Yadav alleged senior officers illegally sold ration meant for jawans in the open market.

While home minister Rajnath Singh has ordered a probe into the allegations, the BSF has denied the charges.

The force said Yadav was an alcoholic and was court-martialled in 2010 because of indiscipline but was allowed to stay on humanitarian grounds.