The issue regarding inappropriate and unlawful employment of Indian Army Soldiers have been raised since long and a dozen of suicide also attempted in last two decades attributed to this matter. This type of unauthorized personal domestic use of soldiers as private servants of Family of Commissioned officers have been pointed out by various print and electronic media time and again but the Bureaucracy of Indian Army denied the issue straightforwardly with an excuse to keep “Buddy System”.
Recently with the active intervention of National and International Human Rights Organisations, the Indian Army has agreed that there is some irregularity in use of manpower for personal/ inappropriate use by the officers. It has been noticed that there is no such irregularity found in the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy till date. Accordingly , the Chief of Army Staff has issued instructions to all Fmn Cdrs but till date the instruction is yet to be implemented, as feedback received from the environment. Soldiers are still being detailed for the “Helper” or “Sewadar” at the Officers Family Quarters in the name of Buddy System.
One of the Indian Army Formation Headquarters has issued instructions to the Area Head Quarters under their Command regarding not to employ our soldiers for in-appropriate tasks which is against the dignity of a soldier and in simple meaning it appears to be represent them in the society as “Servant of the Officers Family” or “Sewadar”. The matter communicated to the units/formation are as under :-
The employment of the soldiers on administrative duties need to be strictly aligned to the tasks befitting military professionalism and soldierty tasks. At times it has been observed that the troops are being employed for tasks which undermine the self esteem of an individual and project a poor image of the Indian Army.
The COAS has explicitly passed to curb any employment of troops which does not reflect soldierty employment and ensure dignity of soldiers. All Formation Commanders are requested to pass instructions to sub Unit Commanders level to implement the same.
A list of prohibited assignment / employment for soldiers are here
- Opening of Car doors.
- Placard Holders, carrying luggage/pushing luggage trolleys at Airport/Rly Stn
- Holding umbrella for offrs at public events.
- Tdn, especially housekeepers, carrying out tasks in public places or roads , whilst dressed in uniform to be avoided
- Stic orderlies/Markers escorting various appts (Sr Offrs) during functions, other than ceremonial parades
- Est ‘Refreshment Det’ for serving tea/snacks at Airports/Rly Stns/Helipads.
- Emp as waiters in public places, non offrs Mess Functions and private parties.
- Ostentatious celebrations in Offrs Mess functions and private parties and garish/loud display.
- As photographer, in disproportionate No during social events.
- Walking of pets in public spaces/roads.
- Performing de-meaning household chores
- Accompanying ladies during shopping and carrying shopping bags
- Escorting children to school drop-off pts while carrying their school bags/tending during play hours.
- Caretaking children in Parks
- Employment and presence during AWWA / Ladies Club Events
- Org of picnic / entertainment activities at public places, with service staff in uniform.
- Staying in Servant Quarters
- Mov alongwith luggage in trucks during permanent duty mov of an offr
- Driving personal cars (even if in civvies)., for ladies / civ guests.
- Detail as helper to retd offrs.
The lower formation has further circulated the instructions to the units which is as under –
“ Para 1. References…
Para 2 . It has been observed that inspite of clear directions on the subject, Sahayaks/tps are still being used for taking pet dogs out for a walk and taking care of small children in parks.
Para 3. The practice has to stop with immediate effect and all offrs are to be advised to not to use service of service pers for the task as instructed by the COAS. List of such avoidable task is att as per appx to this letter.
Para 4. Instructions to Pro Unit – initiate reports in r/o offrs violating the a/m instrs.”
In various electronic media the matter has been discussed based on the recent initiative of the Indian Army and following have been raised –
“From the entire matter, it has been found that the entire thing has been initiated under pressure of the various social groups and not considering any humanitarian grounds. To bring justice to the soldiers of our country, the main objection point and much controversial issue – “ Discontinuation of Helper (Sahayak)” should be considered by the Indian Army at top most priority.
The day when the “Indian Army Officers” get the instruction not to keep serving soldiers as helpers, the entire problem will be resolved in a natural way. The main root point is to engage a soldier as Helper (in real utility as Domestic Servant). So, it is expected that the officers should not engage a soldier as a helper. The field unit must follow the system of the Indian Air Force and Indian navy. They are also posted in Field units and Ships but they never felt any necessity of engaging an Airman or Sailor as a :Helper/servant in the name of “Buddy System”.
Thousands of excuses are ready with them like as the role of IAF an, NAvy and Indian army is different. In this regard, it has been suggested by the jawans that NCsE may be enrolled for the purpose. It has been very cleverly established by the organisation that they need buddies who belong to the non officer category, so that they can be used as servants.”
Whatever the discussion in various social media, it is praisable that after a long 76 years of Independence, it is a remarkable steps by the Indian Army who have thought about leaving the Colonial British Mentality and take care about the dignity of our soldiers.
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