The Indian jawan has been epitomized quite a number of times in the past few months to inspire people to boycott Pakistani film stars, wither in long ATM queues, or even stand in attention for the national anthem in cinema halls.
A series of videos posted by Tej Bahadur Yadav, a BSF jawan, now reveal the abysmal food the soldiers get to eat during meal times. In the first video, Tej Bahadur says that they are on duty from morning 6am to 5pm, braving the cold, storm and snow.
"No one highlights our condition. I will post three videos now and want to show the country's politicians and media the hardships and injustice meted out to us by the authorities," he says.
Talking about the pitiful conditions, Tej Bahadur makes it clear he does not want to blame the government. "The government does give us the provisions, but the authorities at the top sell them to reap profit. We end up getting nothing," he alleges.
Watch the video here:
Tej Bahadur claims that sometimes the jawans have to go to bed hungry. Breakfast, he says, consists of just a parantha and a cup of tea. Lunch comprises turmeric-sprinkled dal and salt, without any onion or garlic.
"This is the burnt parantha and the tea. No pickle, no jam, no butter, nothing (to eat it with)," he is heard saying. He then goes on to ask if any jawan could be expected to do his duty, fortified with such bland food.
In the second video, Tej Bahadur records footage of their lunch being made -plain dal along with chapatis.
And in the third, he shows the bland dal and roti they get for lunch.
The videos posted on Monday went viral on social media, causing Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to take notice, and tweet late on Monday night that he had asked the Union Home Secretary to inquire into the matter and seek a report from the BSF.
I have seen a video regarding a BSF jawan's plight. I have asked the HS to immediately seek a report from the BSF & take appropriate action.â€” Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) January 9, 2017
While sympathy has been pouring in for Tej Bahadur and his fellow-soldiers, BSF authorities rubbished his claims as per Shaswati Das' report in Livemint.
BSF authorities said that Tej Bahadur was a "habitual offender" and that he was in need of "psychological counselling". In a statement, the authorities added Tej Bahadur had needed regular counselling right from the beginning of his career.
"Different correction mechanics have been applied for the individualâ€™s welfare, as he was a habitual offender of absenteeism without permission, chronic alcoholism, misbehaving and using force with senior officers and certain other acts against good order and discipline," the statement said.
BSF authorities also said that Tej Bahadur had been sent just ten days earlier to his place of deployment along the LoC. He had previously worked at the BSF headquarters under senior officials' supervision.
In a press conference held on Tuesday, BSF Inspector General DK Upadhyay termed the issue a "sensitive matter" and that Tej Bahadur would be shifted to a different headquarter, to ensure a fair trial as well as keep the pressure of him.
While Upadhyay conceded that the food did not taste good in winters because it is "tinned and dehydrated", jawans generally did not complain. "DIG level officers who have visited the camp in the past have never received any complaint regarding the same," he reiterated.
Upadhyay went on to reveal that Tej Bahadur was supposed to be court-martialled in 2010, but was not dismissed, taking his family into consideration.
Apart from probing the said allegations -Upadhyay said- an enquiry would also be conducted as to why Tej Bahadur was carrying a phone while on duty, despite strict guidelines to the contrary.