“Will Fight Army’s Misuse of Sahayak System”: Yagya Pratap Singh

“I was harassed for two years for speaking the truth, but I will continue to fight,” says Yagya Pratap Singh.

Published24 Jun 2018, 08:55 AM IST
India
3 min read

Video Editor:Vivek Gupta

The way soldiers are mistreated in the sahayak system by the Army, the way the Army punished me, harassed me for two years for speaking the truth – how can I express that in words?
Retired Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh

In January 2017, Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh, now retired, spoke against the misuse of the sahayak system in the Indian Army. He recorded a video and narrated how the soldiers are made to do menial jobs by seniors. The video went viral and compelled the Army to come out with an explanation.

Other soldiers followed Singh’s footsteps and released videos alleging the misuse of the sahayak system.

Singh was taken into custody by the Army. A day before his retirement, he was court-martialed and tried in an Army court. The trial went on for five months. In April 2018, the court dismissed him from duty and ordered rigorous imprisonment for six months.

But the Army authorities had a change of heart in June 2018. Singh was informed that the order had changed and told that he would be rank court-martialed with pension instead.

On 8 June 2018, a guard took me from the jail to the office of an Army officer. Lt Col HS Chabra was present there. He told me that changes were being made to the previous order and that the orders had come from the higher authorities. He said I had been rank court-martialled from Lance Naik to Sipahi, and that I can go home. I asked him if I would get the benefits of a Sipahi. The officer said yes.
Retired Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh

Singh says he only received verbal communication about the order and that he was denied a copy of the order when he asked for it.

The Quint wrote to the Army, seeking details of Singh’s revised order. This copy will be updated with the response.

Singh says he will appeal to the High Court if he fails to get the order within two months. “So far, I have only been verbally communicated about the revised order, which I respect. I will wait for the copy of the same. If I don’t receive a copy of the order, I will approach the High Court for justice,” he says.

“I Was Declared Insane By The Army”

On 12 January 2017, Singh’s wife shared with the media a video that he had recorded about the alleged misuse of the sahayak system.

Singh said he made the video because his seniors had turned a deaf ear to his complaints.

I was a sahayak assigned to Brigadier Ajay Pasmola. I drove his civilian car, served as a driver to his mother, sister and children. I cleaned his car and walked his dogs. I was forced to do all these things even though I protested several times. The Army officers said I have not used the proper channels to lodge my complaints. I complained several times to the Army officers, but that would result in me being made to run with a pithu bag. I had 17 years of service and I put that in jeopardy by making the video because I had no other option.

Singh alleges that the Army declared him “insane”. “I would get called late at night, around 11-12 o’clock. I was not allowed to meet anyone, nor was any soldier allowed to meet me. I wasn’t allowed to talk to my family. They threatened me with court martial,” he alleges.

On 16 January 2017, I was declared insane by the Army.

“I Will Continue My Fight”

“I will continue my fight against the sahayak system,” says Singh, who served as a sahayak for four years. He also plans to file a petition in the Allahabad High Court against the system.

The sahayak system should end immediately, so that the relationship between a soldier and officer improves; so that no other soldier is forced to take the drastic steps I had to. I believe an officer who cannot prepare his own uniform and take care of his weapons is not fit for the Army.

Singh says his family is living hand to mouth because they have not received even a single penny from his pension. But he vows that nothing will come in the way of his fight against the system.

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