Voice Of The People

General GD Bakshi on BSF TejBahadur Yadav’s Plight

A decorated officer of the Indian Army, General G D Bakshi, spoke to Pradip Bhandari, the CEO and Founder, of Jan Ki Baat regarding the video containing BSF jawan, Tej Bahadur Yadav’s ‘testimony’. In the video, Yadav, of Border Security Force 29th Battalion, claims that he and his colleagues often find themselves the victims of bad quality food. This video, since it contains serious allegations about mistreatment of the BSF jawans, has become a source of controversy, with its viewers condemning the Army personnel’s lack of concern for the welfare of the BSF’s soldiers. The BSF works under the operational command of the Army, hinting at the problems due to hierarchies within the structure, which is cited as one of the causes behind Yadav posting a video instead of lodging a formal complaint, which may or may not have gotten him an official response.

General Bakshi observes that if such was a common, everyday scene, several officers would have already protested against it and therefore, it’s highly unlikely that this is that common a practice. But General Bakshi did admit the possibility of it, saying that this kind of (mis)treatment maybe in one, isolated unit and shouldn’t be generalized as one meted out to all BSF jawans. “Gross misrepresentation” is what such a generalization amounts to. The allegation by Yadav and its implication (that Army officers were siphoning off the ration meant for the BSF) is a serious one and has to be investigated. Bakshi notes that incidents like these are used as reasons to tighten up the screws across the institution and initiate its thorough check-up. Proper food of good quality is one of the main factors when it comes to a soldier’s profession and the lack of this is a genuine cause of grievance. According to Bakshi, every officer is answerable to his unit and his primary concern is about the welfare of his unit and the video’s allegations challenge the officer’s obligation.

Bakshi also clarified that the issue about the presence of hierarchies, in this case, about a BSF jawan being under the command of the Army, is a separate issue altogether and it is for the government to tackle with. He, then, emphasized on the presence of a chain of command and code of conduct in matters of grievances; Bakshi believed that a video like this becomes the source of disrepute for soldiers everywhere as it creates a trust deficit between the officer and his unit, on one hand, and the Army and the mass, on other. The disciplinary hierarchy is what, for Bakshi, separates the soldiers from the masses.

However, if the problem is genuine, it would activate an entire chain of command and start a series of investigations into the issue but we must not “jump the gun”. The General cited various instances where “disgruntled” soldiers, who were subjected to disciplinary action, used social media to voice their ‘victimization’, injecting the appearance of a kind of dysfunctionality into the structure. Fragging, a practice made infamous by the Vietnamese Army, and other such practices may “induce mutiny” within the Indian Army.

Bakshi reiterates: this is an isolated phenomenon and not a general one, a view that the BSF twitter account also endorses: “Individual aberrations, if any, are enquired into.” These enquiries, Bakshi assures us, are time bound so as to grasp the truth value of the accusation and formulate an adeqaute response. Bakshi also remarks that the investigation would be conducted by a third, external party to avoid the possibility of any bias.


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