Mainstream, VOL LIII No 45 New Delhi October 31, 2015
Protect Relationship of Trust between Officers and Jawans
Wednesday 4 November 2015, by
One of the great strengths of our Army has been the relationship of trust between officers and jawans. Therefore if this relationship of trust is threatened in any way, then the highest authorities should intervene immediately to repair this damage and restore the relationship of trust.
It is with this wider aim that I appeal to the highest authorities in the Defence Ministry and overall in the Government of India to intervene immediately to provide justice in all cases relating to the highly unfortunate incidents at an Army Training Centre in Nyoma (Ladakh) in May 2012. It is these incidents perhaps more than any other in recent times which have threatened the relationship of trust.
Briefly, as reported in the media, these incidents involved the cruel beating up of a sepoy, Suman Kumar, by four officers, denial of proper medicare to him, protests by other soldiers against them and the subsequent clamp-down on these protests. According to published reports, 25 soldiers, including Suman Kumar, have been sentenced to jail from seven to 10 years while another 139 are facing trial at various stages. Media reports suggest strongly that proper procedures have been violated widely in the course of investigations and trials of these cases. Suman Kumar has been accused of attempt at molestation and jailed, although he is widely believed to be innocent and morally upright.
Clearly very serious damage has been done by all this to the relationship of trust between officers and jawans. We all swear by the slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’, so we should not forget our jawans and kisans when they face threats on account of malfunctioning of our system.
All citizens believing in justice and all human rights organisations should appeal to the government at the highest level to intervene as early as possible to ensure justice to restore trust.
The path for justice at this juncture would be for the authorities to withdraw all cases against the 164 or so accused persons. They should be provided with adequate compensation and counselling to help them overcome this traumatic experience. This would also bring great relief to their families who have endured a lot of tension for over three years now.
As Suman Kumar was serving as a sahayak (earlier called batman), the larger question of ensuring the dignity of all sahayaks should also be taken up. They should be assigned only their legitimate duties and tasks.
PaschimVihar, New Delhi-110063