Border guarding force SSB has ordered an inquiry into a jawan’s allegation made in a video clip posted on social media that he was “whipped” and jailed by his senior officers at a camp in Bihar recently, official sources said on Saturday.
Top officers in the paramilitary force told PTI that while a court of inquiry (CoI) has been ordered into the incident by the Patna-based Inspector General (IG) of the force, the role of the jawan is already under the scanner in a case of “illegal” transport of wooden logs from the Valmiki Tiger reserve of the state to the residence of an SSB officer in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
Constable Arvind Kumar Jaswara, in a 2:21-minute-long video uploaded on YouTube on Friday, said he is posted with the 21st battalion of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in Bagaha town of West Champaran district.
The jawan, wearing a camouflage T-Shirt, alleges that he was “abused” and “whipped with a leash” by the commanding officer, his deputy and an Inspector of the unit near the tennis court inside the SSB camp on May 7.
In the video, the jawan is seen pulling up his T-Shirt to show injuries on his back and shoulders which he claims were the result of the assault carried out by the three officers.
While the jawan does not state as to why he was hit by his seniors, he alleged that he was kept in a “unit jail for 2 days” and claimed he was made to sign on a blank paper.
“I request senior SSB officers to save my life. I fear for my life…they will get me killed. If anything happens to me then the Inspector, Deputy Commandant and Commandant (of my battalion) will be responsible,” the jawan claims.
SSB authorities said action has been initiated and the “present incident may not be exactly as it was made out to be.”
They said the role of the constable is being probed in a case that took place in January this year where a Deputy Commandant-rank officer of the 21st battalion is alleged to have sent wooden logs, that were purportedly cut from the Valmiki reserve, to his residence in Lucknow on an SSB vehicle “without any movement order or authority when the Commandant (commanding officer) was on leave.”
This jawan, they claimed, accompanied the vehicle with the driver and two other jawans and one of them even carried “his weapon and ammunition” which is a serious breach of rules, they said.
Later, when the commandant got to know about the incident he ordered an enquiry on May 7 into this incident of unauthorised use of vehicle and manpower and mis-handling of weapon and ammunition, they said.
The state forest department is understood to have indicated that there are alleged links between the jungle mafia and some SSB officials and that charge is also being probed, officials said.
SSB officers said that the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) rank officer of Patna range who is probing the wooden log case and the social media video of the jawan has “found many loopholes in the story of the constable regarding him being beaten by the Commandant.”
“The jawan (Jaswara) has accepted that he has done all this (ferrying of wooden logs) at the instance of the Deputy Commandant who at present is temporarily posted to Jammu and Kashmir,” a senior officer said.
The jawan, they said, is “now trying to cover his tracks”.
Both the enquiries are now being conducted simultaneously and a “final report” will soon be submitted to the SSB headquarters for further action, they said.
The SSB is primarily tasked with guarding Indian borders with Nepal and Bhutan and it functions under the command of the Union home ministry.