Indian soldier who crossed over had griped about superiors

New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) Indian Army soldier, Chandu Babulal Chavan, who was released by Pakistan on Saturday, had crossed the LoC “inadvertently” due to “severe grievances with his superiors and leadership”, according to a Pakistan Foreign Office statement.

Chavan, 23, of the 37 Rashtriya Rifles, “crossed the Line of Control over severe grievances with his superiors and leadership. Pakistan convinced the soldier to return to India being an Indian national and address his grievances through local grievance mechanisms,” the Pakistani statement said.

While the Indian Army has yet to give a statement on the reasons for Chavan crossing over on September 29 last year, if what the Pakistan authorities say has any truth it would be another in a slew of complaints that members of the Indian forces, including paramilitary, have been airing on social media.

Junior level officials of the Border Security Force, the Central Reserve Police Force and also Army jawans, have lately taken to social media to raise their voices against their service conditions.

In a recent video, Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh, posted in 42 Infantry Brigade in Dehradun, alleged that soldiers are being exploited by their officers.

Earlier, Border Security Force trooper Tej Bahadur Yadav posted a YouTube video showing poor quality food being served to them on the icy border in Jammu and Kashmir. Many more such clips have surfaced on social media, including of a Central Reserve Police Force constable complaining about deprivation and harassment by seniors.

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat, referring to the growing complaints on social media, has said that jawans can raise complaints internally instead of resorting to social media.

Sepoy Babulal Chavan, stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, crossed over to India at the Wagah-Attari border on Saturday afternoon after he was handed over to the BSF by the Pakistani authorities.

India had been pursuing his case with Pakistan since he crossed over on September 29, just hours after the Indian Army’s surgical strikes across the LoC.

According to a statement by the Pakistan Army’s media wing, Chavan “deserted his post at the LOC due to his grievances of maltreatment against his commanders”.

“He wilfully crossed LOC on September 29, 2016 and surrendered himself to Pakistan Army.”

It said that “as a gesture of goodwill and in continuation of our efforts to maintain peace and tranquility along LOC and IB (International Border), Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan has been convinced to return to his own country and will be handed over to Indian authorities at Wagah Border on humanitarian grounds.”

Chavan’s grandmother had suffered a cardiac arrest and died after the family was informed that he was captured by the Pakistan Army.

–IANS

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