Soldiers must raise issues internally instead of making it public: Bipin Rawat

After a soldier alleged in a YouTube video that he was forced to "wash clothes, polish boots and walk dogs" for his seniors and is being harassed for flagging it, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat today said: "I request troops to use a grievance box and not social media".

According to news agency reports, newly appointed Indian Army chief General Rawat said among Indian Army "sahayaks" (orderlies) for officers and junior commissioned officers were part of a "very important and good buddy system", but it was examined whether the practice should be applied in peacetime locations. He also assured that the identity of the complainant would be kept secret to avoid harassment.

The Army Chief also promised that "if a soldier writes regarding his grievances penning down his identity, Army will ensure that his identity is not made public".

The first set of videos, watched by tens of thousands of users across various platforms within a short succession, was produced by a Border Security Force (BSF) constable Tej Bahadur Yadav, where he claims the troops are being served bad food and many a time the members go to sleep on "empty stomach". The drop box will be sealed and sent to the chief so that only he can look into the grievances. "Will do it again if needed", Rawat said.

Gen Rawat also confirmed that Pakistan military authorities have committed to the release Indian soldier Chandu Chavan, who inadvertently strayed across the border on September 30 past year.

The army chief also spoke on the topic of Indian soldier Chandu Chavan, who had inadvertently crossed the Line of Control (LoC) into Pakistan and was detained by the Pakistani forces.

There have been several complaints of the misuse of buddy system which was introduced by the British
There have been several complaints of the misuse of buddy system which was introduced by the British

He promised both anonymity of the complainant as well as "best efforts to address the problem properly".

"Through the media, I wish to reach out to the rank and file of the Army".

However, he added: "If the complainant is unsatisfied with the action taken, he can choose other medium (to voice his grievance)".

Encouraging jawans to use complaint boxes, Rawat said that soldiers must use complaint boxes and not social media for complaints. He did not like some of the duties assigned to a "sahayak".

Seniors should address these issues and even if then the jawan is not satisfied, he is free to explore other channels, Rawat said.

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