In the past week, two incidents involving India's defence forces have gone viral on social media. The overarching theme, however, is the same.
On Thursday, a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan, Jeet Singh, made an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to improve their working conditions.
Earlier this week, a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan, Tej Bahadur, posted a video describing the hardships of serving in the force. He was branded as one with a "difficult past" and "chronic alcoholism". The BSF's claims aside, the two videos are not isolated incidents.
CRPF jawans are known to be deployed in conflict zones, often in poor living conditions, along with inadequate medical facilities.
Here's an excerpt of a conversation on Facebook, of various CRPF jawans discussing ration money allowance. The post is from 2013, on a page for Central government employees, to relay information and get updates on matters.
The thread however continues up till 2015, an indication that the problem is a festering one.
Other than ration money, CRPF jawans in Chhattisgarh often have to make do with poor quality food. If there is a delay in regular supplies – which there often is given the terrain – the jawans have to survive on rice, dal and potatoes, reports Times of India.
Former Director-General of CRPF, Dilip Trivedi, told The Quint that lack of doctors is a major problem for the forces.
Trivedi said there were vacancies but the forces had trouble making up for the 30-40 percent shortage of doctors, especially in areas where malaria claims more CRPF lives than the Naxals.
The All India Central Paramilitary Forces Ex-servicemen Welfare Association (AICPFEWA) has come together to ask the Modi government to either implement One Rank One Pension (OROP) or give benefits at par with the Army.
After 2004, the government’s initiative to reduce the pension burden has further affected the armed forces.
In April, the Rajnath Singh-led Home Ministry recommended equal pay for a second in command (2IC) in central paramilitary to that of the lieutenant colonel in the army.
While the recommendations have not been made official yet, the likes of Jeet Singh and Tej Bahadur continue to remind us of the plight of our jawans.