Alappuzha: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who calls himself the 'chowkidar' of the country, is facing the ire of several real chowkidars for the humiliations they have suffered at the hands of the government. While a former Border Security Force (BSF) jawan, Tej Bahadur Yadav, who was dismissed from service, will take on Mr Modi in Varanasi as candidate of the Samajwadi Party, a former Malayali jawan is also seething with anger at the cruelty perpetrated on him by the higher-ups. The crime that led to Yadav's dismissal was that he had circulated a video criticising the food given to the forces on the frontlines. Similarly,
Shibin Thomas, 35, hailing from North Aryad here, who served in the BSF for 13 years, was sacked in March 2017 for trying to expose graft in the forces. He believes that Mr Modi's 'chowkidar' campaign is an eyewash.
"Yadav and I were dismissed from the force during the same period for the same crime of exposing corruption in the force. I hope the people of Varanasi will recognise the real chowkidars of the nation. Yadav's life was ruined due to his sincerity. The corrupt people in the force are emboldened by the Modi dispensation," said Thomas who was a constable with the 28 battalion of BSF.
"I stood up against corruption and moved an RTI to the Ministry of Home Affairs to know about fund allocation for individual battalions. The ministry never provided me the information claiming that it comes under national security. Instead they started torturing me mentally and physically till the date of dismissal. The people must recognise fake chowkidars in the country," he said.
Thomas, who was held in custody at Raiganj in West Bengal, was locked up in a dingy cell for ten days and wasn't allowed to contact anybody, including his parents.
"Disobeying command (one of the five charges framed against him to sack him) is not a genuine ground for the dismissal of a jawan," he pointed out. "I refused to do duty on the Bangladesh border and work under a female commandant after I filed the RTI, for I felt it was a conspiracy to trap me. If I obeyed their instruction, I would have been framed with more serious charges. Another charge on using unprofessional language against a subordinate was fabricated. They did it to take revenge on me for filing an RTI application seeking battalion expenses from the Ministry of Home Affairs," he recalled.
Senior commandants were scared that he would expose their organised plunder with the patronage of the government. "I had spent 13 years of my life to protect the borders of our country. They could have removed me on either unsuitability or medical ground. Because of the dismissal, I can't work with a reputed company, and I will not get even a security job. I had approached the Home Ministry many times to get a reprieve. But the government ignored me," he said.
When he was released from the cell in the morning of March 3, 2017, the vehicle with his belongings was waiting in front of the office. They did not give him even a moment to stay there after the collar-cutting event (the last ritual performed in security forces on a dismissed jawan) was done. He was allowed to change into civil dress only in the vehicle. He was dropped at the Raiganj railway station without giving him even pocket money to reach home, he said.
His family consisting of his father Thomas John, 57, mother Rosamma Thomas, 51, and wife Sophiya depends on him for its survival. He is still in trauma and is unconvinced of the reason for his dismissal....