The death of an army jawan days after a sting video showed him criticising the ‘Sahayak system in army’ has put the role of media under scanner and the limits it should not cross while making an expose. Lance Naik Roy Mathew was found hanging from the ceiling of an abandoned barrack in the Deolali Army Cantonment on March 2. The reason which forced Mathew to end his life was allegedly a sting video uploaded by news website ‘The Quint’, in which he had spoken on the ‘sahayak’ system in the Indian Army. The video was uploaded on February 23.
According to a report published in the Indian Express, Lance Naik Mathew’s younger brother, John said, he was worried about the sting video uploaded by news website The Quint, in which he had spoken on the “sahayak” or “buddy” system in the Indian Army.
However, the website has removed the video with the report, “Soldier or Servant?”
According to the police sources, Mathew (33) spoke about his superior officers while doing personal chores in the video. The Nashik police have registered an accidental death report under Section 174 of the CrPC.
The army on Friday issued a press release stating that “guilt” may have driven Mathew to commit suicide. “Preliminary investigations have now revealed that the suicide may be the result of a series of events which were triggered by media personnel managing to video-graph the deceased by asking leading questions on his duty as buddy without his knowledge. It is very likely that the guilt factor of letting down his superiors or conveying false impression to an unknown individual led him to take the extreme step,” press release said.
The Press Released also said, “The identities of the army personnel in (video) clipping were hidden, and thereby not known to the army. Hence, there is no question of any enquiry that could have been ordered against the deceased,” it said. “A complaint has been lodged with local police and an enquiry has been ordered by army authorities to investigate the circumstances leading to his death… From February 25 onwards, this individual was declared absent without leave and apprehension roll was registered with the police as per existing order, till the body was recovered from an abandoned barrack.”
‘Mathew is suspected to have committed suicide a few days ago as the body was in a decomposed state,’ said Police sources.
John further asserted, “Roy was weeping when he spoke to his wife. He said he had been called for an inquiry by higher officials. After saying he was in trouble, he ended the call.’’
Mathew’s family said, his phone remained switched off after that. The worried family sent a petition to the Army chief, through local MP Suresh Kodikunnil, seeking a probe into the incident. Then on March 2, they were informed about his death.