Army jawan uploads video on social media to criticise the Sahayak “buddy system”

Army jawan uploads video on social media to criticise the Sahayak "buddy system"

NEW DELHI,March08: Yet another jawan has now uploaded a video on social media to criticise the Sahayak or “buddy system” prevalent in the 1.3-million strong Army, which comes soon after gunner Roy Mathew allegedly committed suicide in Deolali last week after he figured in a news website’s sting operation on the issue.

Sepoy Sindhav Jogidas Lakhubhai, recruited in the “housekeeper” (sanitation) wing of the Army Medical Corps in 2014, put up a post where he shared his frustration at being forced to do menial tasks and face punishment for complaining to the PMO, defence ministry and others. He also alleged jawans were being given “the poorest quality” of food, with some officers even treating their sahayaks as “slaves”.

But strongly rubbishing the allegations, the Army said Lakhubhai had earlier faced punishment for not returning from leave on time, for which he was docked seven days of pay, and later “refusing to clean the bed-pan” of a critically-ill patient in the ICU at the military hospital in Ranikhet.

“As per his trade of a housekeeper, he is mandated to carry out such tasks. For this act of indiscipline, the sepoy was awarded seven days imprisonment within his unit. He has never been asked to be a ‘buddy’ or sahayak of an officer. All his claims are false,” said the Army spokesperson.

A staff court of inquiry found him blameworthy for violating the established chain of command and correspondence. He was tried summarily for this act of indiscipline and awarded 14 days pay fine,” he added.

 Whatever be the merits of the case, the episode yet again underscores how the increasing use of social media by military and paramilitary jawans to air their grievances is creating disciplinary problems in the uniformed forces.
“Politicians and media are setting a dangerous precedence by highlighting such instances for their own gains. Our military and paramilitary forces are voluntary in nature, with no one being forced to join them. But disciplinary standards and the proper chain of command have to be maintained for these forces to undertake their tasks,” said an officer.
The Army spokesperson, in turn, added: “The operational and professional effectiveness of the Indian Army, which rests on bedrocks of discipline, trust and spirit de corps, cannot be diluted based upon false and non-existent perceived grievances and misdemeanors of a few.”
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