Harassment

The other Jadhav: Army soldier claims he was denied food for being a Dalit

As Maharashtra simmered with violence, over beatings of Dalits who were en-route to commemorate the victory of a Dalit force of the Mahar community, over Peshwa Brahmins, a disturbing video of discrimination of Dalits in the Indian army has resurfaced.

The video on social media, where an army soldier posted in Kashmir’s Kishtawar district, has claimed that he has faced discrimination on account of being a Dalit, was uploaded in September, but has gone viral recently, with over 2 lakh views on one facebook page alone.

The soldier who identifies himself as Jadhav Kamlesh Kumar, a Jawan of 26 Rashtriya Rifles, posted in Kishtawar, says that his only dream was to ‘serve his nation and the army’, but he feels hurt for being thrown out of the Dining Hall for being a Dalit.

The soldier claims that he was denied food in the canteen, by a senior officer of his, who said that he cannot eat in the canteen because he was a Dalit, considered to be a lower caste by upper caste Hindus.

ALSO READ: Why are Indian soldiers killing each other in Kashmir?

The soldier further alleges that when he tried complaining to the higher officer, he was thrown out of the office on the same account.

This is not the first time, a lower rank soldier of the Indian army has alleged discrimination and voiced it on social media.

In early 2017, a Border Security Force soldier Tej Bahadur Yadav, had alleged that troops at the border were being served poor quality food. Yadav futher accused the authorities of detaining and torturing him and refusing him his voluntary retirement, an allegation which the organisation categorically denied.

In September, more than 100 serving officers of the Indian Army had moved the Supreme Court alleging discrimination in their promotions, The Times of India had reported.

The petitioners, including officers from the ranks of lieutenant colonels and majors, claimed that personnel of the Army Service Corps were being deployed in operations, but being deprived of the benefits that come with it.

The Army Service Corps handles the military’s logistics support and has nearly 10,000 officers. The petitioners had claimed that service corps troopers were being deployed in operations even though they are not supposed to use their arms as they are non-combatants, The New Indian Express had reported.

“The action of the Army and the Union government in selectively treating officers of the service corps as ‘operational’ for the purpose of deployment in operational areas, but ‘non-operational’ for the purpose of being considered for promotion is violating the fundamental rights of the petitioners and other middle-level Army officers,” the petition read, according to The Times of India.

 


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