General Bipin Rawat, speaking on the occasion of 69th Army Day celebrations in Delhi on Sunday issued a strict warning to the soldiers who take to social media to air their grievances and reiterated that they could be punished as their act is “akin to crime” and lowers the morale of those guarding the frontiers of the country.
“In the recent days, some of our colleagues have been using social media to air their grievances in front of the media. It affects those brave soldiers who are, as per the glorious traditions of the Indian Army, serving the country and guarding the borders.”
“If any jawan has any kind of problem, you have a system to air the grievances for redressal. If you are not satisfied with the action, then you can contact me directly,” the army chief told the soldiers of the 1.2 million-strong force.
There is now a serious controversy after an army men posted videos on social media criticising the use of soldiers as ‘sahayaks’ of the officers. The army man’s video came after similar acts by a jawan each of Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force. There was also a post of the poor quality of food served to the jawans while their officers have no such problem.
Recently Gen Rawat had described social media as a “two-sided” weapon which can be used favourably but can also be detrimental. He had asked his men to directly communicate to him through the “suggestion cum grievance” boxes that will be set up across the formations.
Who is a sahayak and why army was miffed?
The term sahayak means ‘buddy’ related to the ‘buddy system’ which in army parlance means pairing of two soldiers during operations and peace-time postings. It is a system which ensures that the two take care of each other during war and peace.
“The concept behind this system is when going for an operation, while one soldier moves the other will fire in support. Every army officer has a buddy who is a sahayak. He takes care of the officer and the officer takes care of the buddy.
The posting of videos in the social media by two BSF, CRPF jawans and an army Lance Naik alleging lack of welfare measures and abuse, went viral on social media and raised concerns on the inequality and abuse in the Indian Army. Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh, who worked as a sahayak, has alleged in his video that he was made to polish shoes.
Meanwhile another video has surfaced. Social media by its very nature does provide an equal platform for airing grievances!