The Samajwadi Party changed its candidate from Varanasi yesterday. The party declared that instead of originally declared Shalini Yadav, the Mahagathbandhan candidate to contest against PM Narendra Modi will be Tej Bahadur Singh, the former BSF jawan who was sacked on disciplinary grounds.
Tej Bahadur Yadav was a constable in 29th battalion of BSF, and he was posted at a camp near the LoC in Jammu in Kashmir, when he grabbed national headlines in January 2017 after he posted few videos on Facebook. Yadav had posted four videos on 8th and 9th January in 2017, where he had complained about the allegedly poor quality of food served in the camp, and accused that officials were selling the supplies provided to the camp by the government.
He had said that the government is providing everything, but those are going to the market instead of used in the camp. In the video, he had shown watery dals and undercooked rotis, saying that sometimes soldiers are forced to sleep on an empty stomach. He had also said that the videos may land him in trouble, as officers have a lot of power.
The videos were picked up by national media and immediately they became viral. This had prompted Home Minister Rajnath Singh and MoS Home Kiren Rijiju to respond, saying the force has been asked to submit a report on allegations made in the video immediately and take appropriate action.
I have seen a video regarding a BSF jawan’s plight. I have asked the HS to immediately seek a report from the BSF & take appropriate action.
— Chowkidar Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) January 9, 2017
Welfare of our Security Forces absolute priority. Any anomaly to be dealt with firmly: MoS Home Kiren Rijiju on BSF Jawan video.
— ANI (@ANI) January 10, 2017
After this, the Prime Minister’s Officer had sought a detail report from the Home Ministry on the allegations made in the videos.
Subsequently, two simultaneous probes were started, one to look into the allegations made by Tej Bahadur Yadav, and another to look into the behaviour of the jawan in making the allegations public by posting the videos on social media.
Yadav was transferred to BSF headquarters in Jammu while a staff court of inquiry (SCoI) was launched into the matter. The Commandant and the second in command of the 29th battalion, where Yadav was posted, were also transferred to Tripura to ensure a fair enquiry into the charges levelled by the jawan. In an initial report, the MHA had said that there was no widespread discontent among the soldiers on food supplies, and there was no shortage of ration at any post.
In the report of staff court of inquiry, Yadav was found guilty of several offences, and he was dismissed from service in April 2017. The report had found that Yadav had made false charges against his officers.
“Yadav has been found guilty on certain charges of indiscipline including uploading the said video in violation of laid down procedures and rules”, BSF officials had informed. The action of dismissal of the jawan was taken under the Border Security Force Act that is applicable to all the personnel serving in the paramilitary force.
Even before he was dismissed in 2017, Yadav had faced punishment on disciplinary grounds earlier, much before Narendra Modi came to power.
On two occasions in March 2009, Yadav had made highly objectionable and abusive language against his seniors when he was asked to remain in high alert during naka duty. He had alleged that his seniors are issuing orders while they are sleeping, and threatened to shoot them with his rifle.
In March 2010, a BSF inquiry had found that Tej Bahadur Yadav had used criminal force and inappropriate language for his superiors. Yadav had pleaded guilty on both the charges and requested for less punishment and pardon. The Court had found him guilty, and he was sentenced to 3 months of rigorous punishment in custody of the force. His promotions were stalled for 3 years, and he didn’t get any salary, allowances during his jail term.
The order sentencing him the 3 months of imprisonment also noted that he had already earned 3 punishments before that, and his general character was assessed as poor. Tej Bahadur was awarded 14 days of rigorous imprisonment in 1996, 7 days in 2003 and 28 days in 2007 on various charges.
While Tej Bahadur Yadav may dismiss the disciplinary charge against him as vendetta now that he is in active electoral politics, he might find it tough to explain his earlier misdemeanours.