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Realities of life in BSF and Military

How does India treat its soldiers and armed forces in various military organizations? Soldiers, who lay down their dear lives for security of nation? The internal details of their upkeep and maintenance are rarely revealed by soldiers at the lowest ranks. There are serious concerns about the systems of military justice but this is seldom paid attention to. While delayed justice in the country s crawling judicial system is routine, delays for the soldiers can be fatal when it manifests itself in suicide and fratricide. There are various reasons for suicide and fratricide amongst paramilitary forces like personal/domestic problems, illness, financial crisis of concerned individual, marital affairs, mental stress, and alcoholic dependence.

Napoleon Bonaparte famously said, “An army marches on its stomach”. This quote has been recently bought to light by a constable in Border Security Force (BSF) through his videos about half-burnt parathas and tasteless dal.

The BSF s woes extend to larger issues than just food. There are wide discrepancies between the Army and the BSF in terms of pay, deployments to forward areas, service conditions, and grievance redress mechanisms.

Currently, there are seven paramilitary forces in existence. 25 years after scathing remarks made by the Supreme Court about the military justice system in Lt. Col. Prithi Pal Singh Bedi v. Union of India (1982) about lack of proper judicial scrutiny. Article 33 of the Constitution severely restricts the fundamental rights of armed forces personnel. In court martial proceedings, no process of appeal other than statutory petitions and time-consuming writ petitions.

Presently, the Home Ministry is in damage control mode in the BSF constable s case. It is important for the ministry to take steps not to shoot the messenger but prevent messengers from shooting themselves.

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