Tag Archives: Morale

RE-UP: #BSF chief declares full force as corruption-prone, sparks outrage within

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Many are surprised, some are shocked and the rest are silent.

In October 2015, DK Pathak, the former Director General (DG) of the Border Security Force (BSF) remarked how the ‘elite’ force he was ‘proud to lead’ had ‘very less’ number of corruption cases. Within 20 months, things have a turn for the worse or so it seems. In a two-page order issued last month by the current DG, KK Sharma’s office, almost all posts and appointments in the force ‘have been identified as sensitive posts and corruption prone areas in the BSF’. No justification, further explanation or course of action has been provided in the said order.

The order was issued by the Pers Section of the Pers Directorate which deals with personnel-related issues and can be equated with the Human Resource (HR) wing in other organisations. The order has been ‘approved by the competent authority’ (a reference to the Director General himself) and goes on to list six formations which it believes are corruption-prone and sensitive. Beginning with all appointments and directorates within the Force Headquarters, the order goes on to list Command Headquarters, training institutions, Frontier Headquarters all the way to the Sector Headquarters and Battalion Headquarters. A closer reading of the order reveals how even junior and functional offices have not been spared from the taint of being ‘corruption-prone’. For example, those dealing with ration and welfare at the battalion headquarters have been placed under this order’s ambit. Those dealing with recruitment, postings, construction, cash and accounts and even vigilance matters will have a tougher scrutiny over their work thanks to this order.

SHRI D K PATHAK, DG BSF
DG BSF KK Sharma

The exercise to identify such posts is a routine one but the broad sweep with which almost the entire organisation has been identified has led to raised eyebrows.

“The length and scope of this list is unprecedented since it almost covers the entire organisation. Some posts in the procurement department, because they involve dealing with external suppliers, may be considered sensitive and corruption prone. But how is the motor transport department for example being seen with the same lens? As I see it, pe

ATTARI - WAGHA
“The length and scope of this list is unprecedented since it almost covers the entire organisation. As I see it, people have failed in applying their minds”, said SK Sood

ople have failed in applying their minds”, said SK Sood, former Additional Director General of the BSF. It was believed that this list could also be used to justify transfers before the completion of tenures. Interestingly while the order states ‘all appointments’ for nearly all the formations, it also contradicts itself and specifies posts which have been brought under this order.

Many within the force are seeing this as a measure of the panic in the wake of the controversy involving Constable Tej Bahadur Yadav who had earlier this year alleged corruption leading to poor nutrition for lower functionaries of the force. To prove his point Yadav had uploaded on social media video clips in which he was seen displaying the allegedly substandard food being served on duty. Yadav was dismissed from service on April 19 this year by a Summary Security Force Court which heard the case from April 13. Serving BSF men who spoke to this correspondent on the basis of anonymity said the force was trying to improve and tighten its vigilance component.

Despite sending a questionnaire neither the BSF Headquarters nor the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) presented their viewpoint on the issue.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bsf-corruption-all-posts-corruption-prone-kk-sharma-tej-bahadur-yadav/1/997938.html

Jawans: ‘Our deaths becoming business as usual for govt’

An account of the unheard voices one picked up along the journey into the gruesome conflict zone this has theatre emerged as, yet again

The treacherous terrain which belongs to Latehar's Katiya forests. Photo: Jugal R Purohit.

The treacherous terrain which belongs to Latehar’s Katiya forests. Photo: Jugal R Purohit.

It was 1300hrs when their CO (Commanding Officer) started addressing them. Barely into the speech, his choked voice wasn’t the only one I could hear. Several of his men, who lost their ‘buddies’ were now sobbing. It was difficult not to get touched.

Almost as a ritual, the men shouted back ‘Haan’, when the CO asked if they were ready to fight the insurgents again. May be they wanted to avenge the deaths of their colleagues or may be had no option.

RELATED REPORTS FROM LATEHAR

With every occasion one gets to travel to a conflict zone, especially in the wake of an unfortunate tragedy like this one, the frustration among the ground soldiers becomes increasingly glaring. Frustration and morale are separate things and not to be confused, at least initially. What if frustration becomes repetitive? Would it then affect morale?

As I travelled to tell the story of the latest humiliation of the Indian nation in the jungles of Latehar, came the news from Dantewada of the acquittal of all those apprehended for the April 2010 massacre of 76 security personnel. “Such things affect our men deeply,” a worried CRPF Commandant told me later that day.

Those at the senior level concede to the feeling of frustration among men but tend to restrict it to a particular instance. Also there are those who think their troops enjoy high morale, almost always.

But what is one to derive when those operating on the middle level say that the administration failed to prevent corruption from taking away drinking water and ration from them when they were fighting on the battleground? This especially in a theatre where it is common for the enemy to poison wells and ensure villagers do the same if asked by forces. Try decoding the feeling when a junior officer tells you that in absence of any specific intelligence they were begging for intelligence from village to village, even as that helped rebels plan a successful ambush. Then there is one where a team of jawans sprinted across 3km with their injured colleagues, to get them evacuated by a helicopter only to find it gone because of ‘dust’, leading one of them to say, “You feel like pumping bullets into those glorified drivers (read pilots).” Another officer told me, “Jawans are ready to die because they don’t realize that for the government, it is business as usual once compensation money has been provided to the  family. The day when this realisation seeps in among jawans, you will have soldiers refusing to obey orders.”

A jawan who had fought on the ground in the present operation told me, “The danger in this operation was clear to all as this was no ordinary group. And yet our seniors did not ensure we had a UAV to provide us local intelligence.” Unmanned Aerial Vehicles of different types are available with the government as well as the CRPF. This jawan was referring to the mini-UAV Netra which can fly for over a kilometer and relay the picture. Amowatikar village in Latehar, Jharkhand. The bloody exchange of fire took place outside this village. Photo by Jugal R Purohit.

Amowatikar village in Latehar, Jharkhand. The bloody exchange of fire took place outside this village. Photo: Jugal R Purohit.

There are more such tales that men told me about, in the hope that a journalist can change what their seniors have not been able to.

This pent-up anger is acquiring newer manifestations.

Like the one which the Director General of the CRPF, Pranay Sahay encountered at Daltonganj last Thursday. In the recreation room of the battalion headquarters, he faced an emotional jawan who wanted him to explain the logic of withdrawing when they all knew of insurgents in a particular location. Why, he asked, the DG failed to mobilize more forces to cordon and finish the insurgents when they were holed up there for 72 hours. He was told they will re-organise and fight again.

I never found out what that jawan thought of his answer.

Adding layers of perplexities to the jawan’s mind were the brutalities inflicted on their dead colleagues – not new by any standards and insurgents wearing uniforms identical to the forces (actually to that of Jharkhand Jaguar – a state police special force) thereby using confusion to kill. I also learnt that the Maoists created a ‘favourable climate’ during this encounter by making women and children chant tribal sounds and burst crackers to win the psychological war.

Brutalities inflicted upon the bodies of slain jawans has caused deep resentment among the forces. Denying dignity to the dead is unacceptable, they said. Photo: Jugal R Purohit.
Brutalities inflicted upon the bodies of slain jawans has caused deep resentment among the forces. Denying dignity to the dead is unacceptable, they said. Photo: Jugal R Purohit.

Speaking from Delhi, a gallantry-award winning officer said, “CRPF’s mindset of operating in aid of civil police needs to change. This approach often allows us to not take responsibilities that we must and helps us in passing the buck.” There are other challenges that his seniors in the force pointed out. Be it unified command or availability and utilization of assets or providing legal support to the troops, there is not much that has happened which encourage.

A day before I left Jharkhand, I went back to the encounter site outside the Amowatikar village. After a brief discussion, a villager whispered to me, pointing towards the precise site, “Party (CPI Maoist) ke log aaye hai. Abhi kuch aur patrakar aaye the, unko bitha liya hai party walon ne.” As I kick-started the bike for a speedy return, it dawned upon me that while the forces had retreated, the rebels had returned.

Guess who won.