It is well known that world over the security forces don’t like dissent and once they get a hang of something like that brewing in their rank and file, they move very quickly to douse the fire. According to a report in HT, the Border Security Force has directed its “special snoop teams” to check on the morale of its personnel, even as it said instances of complaints being voiced via the social media are being dealt with “strictly”. “Representatives of an intelligence network have been directed to report instantly about the morale of the force as well as cases of indiscipline as and when they occur,” it said. “Similarly, the internal vigilance set up has been invigorated by placing the set up separately under one Inspector General level officer and placing vigilance officers up to battalion levels to counter corruption in the force,” it said.
While setting up an internal vigilance panel shows good intent, it is doubtful that a set-up headed by one of their own will find any strands of corruption in the cases that have come out in social media. But much more worse is setting snoops on your own. While the snoop teams are supposed to check the morale of the troops, their main work would probably be to stem any “lone wolf” from airing his problems via social media. The BSF also claimed that the force has a very “robust grievance redressal system” within its establishment from the lowest field unit up to the director general (DG) level. If that is so, then the jawans would not have taken to social media to air their grievances and there would be no need to refurbish the complaint mechanism.
Earlier this year, in four different videos released online, constable Tej Bahadur Yadav of the BSF’s 29th battalion talks about the kind of conditions soldiers work under and also goes on to show the kind of food that is allegedly being served.
By “disciplining such soldiers and denying that there is a problem, the BSF is doing a great disservice. The key to addressing such issues is to grab the bull --- corruption --- by its horns and set up systems and procedures to ensure that the jawans get what is their due.