An Army jawan who featured in a viral video on the abuse of the ‘buddy’ system in military camps, was found dead in an abandoned barrack in Nashik district of Maharashtra, police said on Friday.
Roy Mathew, who hailed from Ezhukon in Kollam district of Kerala, was found hanging from the ceiling of a room in an abandoned barrack in Deolali cantonment in Nashik on Thursday, police said.
The deceased was shown in the video, with his face covered, narrating the woes of soldiers. The video also showed soldiers walking dogs of officers and taking their children to school.
The sting operation had led to criticism of the British-era Sahayak (buddy) system. The army has ordered an inquiry into how the sting took place.
Police said Mathew, whose body was decomposed, might have died three days ago.
The soldier had been missing from the Artillery Centre in Deolali since February 25 after the sting video went viral.
Mathew was attached for ‘buddy duties’ with a Colonel-rank officer at the Centre.
According to his family in Kerala, Mathew made his last phone call to them on February 25 and from the way he talked it was evident that he was in a frigthened state.
He told them that he had recently spoken to a mediaperson about the woes of the soldiers in the army and of the menial tasks which they were asked to perform.
He claimed that he said these things after ensuring that he was not being recorded. But later, to his shock, the video went viral as his interview was secretly recorded.
Roy had told his kin that he feared that he would lose his job and would have to face consequences for the act.
After his last call, he did not contact his house, his family in Kerala said.
Deolali camp police have registered a case of accidental death under Section 174 of the CrPC following a complaint lodged by Subhedar Gopalsinh. However, the reason behind his death is yet to be ascertained, they said.
Mathew’s body has been handed over to the army by police after preliminary formalities.
Mathew’s death comes int he wake of a spate of videos released on social media by BSF, CRPF and other armed forces personnel that alleged poor working conditions and harassment.
The first video was released by BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav on 9 January. His social media post on sub-standard food quality had triggered a controversy.
On 15 January, addressing a function organized on the occasion of Army Day, army chief General Bipin Rawat had warned that those using social media to air their grievances could face disciplinary action.