An India’s soldier’s videos on Facebook about the poor quality food being served at his border unit have sparked outrage and forced the government to respond.
The videos, by Tej Bahadur Yadav, of the Border Security Force deployed along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, give the blunt message that an army marches on its stomach.
Following a public clamor, Junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted that the government was seriously examining the soldier’s complaints and will act accordingly. However, he added that soldier had expressed a “high level of satisfaction” with regard to their food during his border visits.
In the videos, Yadav complains of being served poor quality food and says that he is forced to sleep on an “empty stomach” at times because his unit’s rations are sold “illegally” by corrupt officers.
“We only get a ‘paratha’ (flat bread made of wheat) and tea as breakfast and this is without any pickle or vegetables,” says Yadav, wearing camouflage uniform and carrying a rifle.
“We slog for 11 hours and at times we have to stand throughout the duty hours. For lunch, we get ‘dal’ (pulses) which only has ‘haldi’ (turmeric) and salt… with roti. This is the quality of the food we get… How can a jawan (soldier) do his duty?”
He then appeals to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order an investigation and acknowledges that anything might happen to him after he posts the videos. He later refused to take down the videos.
Within hours, the videos drew 2.6 million views and 165,000 shares, according to reports.
BSF inspector general DK Upadhyay said in Jammu that Yadav is a serial offender and that he faces an inquiry for carrying a mobile phone while on duty.
Upadhyay said Yadav had a troubled past that included a drinking problem and that he was about to be court-martialed in 2010 for indiscipline but was let off on compassionate grounds.
Yadav, who joined the force in 1996, has applied for voluntary retirement.