Relatives of Roy Mathew, the army man found dead in Nashik camp, refused to accept his body on Saturday and demanded that the postmortem be done again.
“Many questions are unanswered. The body is beyond recognition. And the officials who accompanied the body refused to show it to even close relatives including the wife of the diceased,” said one of Mathew’s relatives when the body arrived in Thiruvananthapuram.
Mathew, a gunner in the Indian Army, was found dead near his camp in Nashik on Thursday, a few days after he accused senior officers of harassment in an interview with a Marathi channel. The programme was aired on Monday.
Although the army said it was a case of suicide, family members of 33-year-old Mathew said they suspected foul play. They are demanding an investigation into the circumstances leading to his death.
However, an army spokesperson on Friday said a “sting operation” conducted by mediapersons may have spurred him to commit suicide.
Roy went missing on Monday, a day after calling up his wife – Fini Mathew – at Kollam to say that he had made a “big mistake”, an apparent reference to the interview to Marathi channel that showed him accusing senior officers of harassment at the Nashik camp.
He reportedly told Fini that his senior officials came to know about the interview even though the channel promised to keep his identity a secret. Fini said the jawan remained incommunicado for the last three days, until the family received a call from his superiors.
“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 on Friday.
According to Roy’s family, he often complained to his wife about the alleged “slavery” prevalent in the unit. He alleged that junior personnel were often forced to do domestic chores at their officers’ residences.
The death comes amid of a spate of allegations of poor working conditions and harassment faced by jawans in the armed forces.