I am a soldier and I win where I fight — but the struggle of Army No. 15359040K former Naik Abhay Dolhare Padmakar seems far away from attaining victory. After serving the nation and being a part of the Indian army for 20 years, Abhay Dolhare is struggling since nearly a decade against the ‘frauds’ and ‘harassment’ he faced in the Indian Army that has snatched away his hard-earned salary, armed forces’ pension and has compelled him to manage his expenses with meagre Rs 1,500 per month of disability pension.
When AV spoke to Abhay Dolhare, he shared, “I had to go through immense torture and harassment by Lt. Colonel S Jayaraman; they conspired against me and admitted me to the Psychiatric Department of the army hospital in 1995 to prove that I am mentally retarded. I filed a complaint against Jayaraman. However, doctors issued me a fit certificate and released me from the hospital. After I resumed my duties, tortures started all over again. I informed my parents and was on leave for two months when my seniors conspired to suspend me from the force.”
Dolhare expressed his grief by saying that he was scared to rejoin and was fighting with the system from outside since 1996. “Neither had I received any help from the then government nor did the Army Headquarters support me. I filed a writ petition later and won it. The army re-instated me in 2002. However, I was denied any salary or allowances for the period and the army headquarters have refused my pension too,” he added.
Indian Army is known to carry out their task assiduously with a professional dignity. Sacrifices made by them ensure our freedom every single moment. Seniors torturing juniors is not a new framework in the armed forces. Several times many had raised their voice but unfortunately were not entertained to defend the army “chain of command”. Do these brave hearts deserve to be mentally harassed in their workplaces? And in case of harassment, why don’t they have anybody who can pay heed to their misfortune? Why are our government and Indian Army authority failing to address such major loopholes in their system that’s fading its glorious history?
Advocate and Social Activist Manisha Rote said, “The concerns of both the sides need to get the light but he should get justice. Generally, an individual’s fight for justice does not get much attention. Our government is doing injustice to the soldiers in many aspects. Our constitution has strict rules but the problem lies in the implementation. Soldiers are living in a bad condition today and the government is trying to behave like a dictator and trying to change the rules or violating basic principles. Soldiers must be looked at with dignity.”
Stating his case of forfeiture of pay and allowances and the service pension by means of fabricated Record of Punishment, Dolhare wrote to Subhash Bhamre, the Union Minister of State for Defence on June 26, 2017. In the letter he has accused the Signals Records, Jabalpur (Indian Army) for preparing false documents against him that stated his absence from service without permission from April 15, 1996, to January 28, 2002. As per Dolhare’s objection, he was denied salary, allowances for that time period on the basis of forged punishment documents.
He further added that the Commanding Officer 59 Wireless Experimental Unit, Clo 56 Army Postal Office accused him but he was never been tried and punished under Section 39(b) of Army Act 1950 for an alleged offence of Absent Without Leave! “As per Order 23/2000, the only method of enforcing individual responsibility is trial, and in the event of conviction punishment of the offender,” he mentioned further.
As a reply to the plea, Bhamre directed the Commanding Officer of Signals Records, Jabalpur to redress the complaints by former Naik. While warning them for the violation of the Army Act and Constitution of India, he ordered, “To apply corrective measures allowing him pay and allowance, and service pension with arrears. In-addition, further to take drastic punitive action against those, who are responsible for it, as such an activity causes disrepute towards Indian Army.”
“I retired from the Indian Army in 2007; they denied all my entitlement. All these years I am fighting but never got justice. I have received ‘Exemplary’ character certificate that states a ‘clearly good and ideal behaviour’. I lost Rs 2 lakhs in court proceedings and criminal allegations against me are neither investigated nor proved. I have been denied pension and spending a month with Rs 1,500 is impractical. It’s very unfortunate to be a part of such system if I fail to get justice,” Dolhara lamented.