Another jawan posts video, trashes sahayak system

Less than a week after an army jawan from Kerala allegedly committed suicide after accusing senior officers of harassment, another soldier took to social media to complain about the system of ‘batman’, or sahayak duty, in the army.

Sindhav Jogidas of the Army Medical Corps also complained about what he said was poor quality food served to the men in uniform.

Referring to ‘sahayak’ duty, Jogidas said some officers treated soldiers attached to their residences as their servants. “Jawans have to follow orders because those who speak (against it) are victimised.”

The army, however, dismissed Jogidas’s allegations of ill-treatment, saying he was never employed as a sahayak and was punished thrice for indiscipline in his three years’ service. It said it had investigated the case and the allegations were “false and baseless.”

Jogidas said he was airing his grievances publicly because his complaints to the Prime Minister’s Office and the defence ministry had gone unheeded.

On March 3, Lance Naik Roy Mathew, seen criticising the sahayak system in a sting video, was found dead in a barrack in a Maharashtra cantonment. Though the army believes it to be a case of suicide, family members of 33-year-old Mathew said they suspect foul play. They have demanded a probe into the circumstances leading to his death.

In January, another jawan was seen in a video complaining about alleged harassment by superiors. In the video, Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh, posted in 42 Infantry Brigade in Dehradun, said he was being harassed for writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the problems faced by soldiers.

Jogidas said he approached the PMO and the defence ministry to complain because he did not want issues related to the Army to come on social media.
Jogidas added: “At the end, I was given a chargesheet because I had written against my officers. I have already been punished twice. This time I had to give up 14 days of salary as fine….If we refuse any duty or break a rule, we are punished immediately. But when officers break rules, there are no rules or regulations for them,” he said.