Roy Mathew, the Army Jawan who featured in the “Sahayak Sting” in January, was found hanging in an abandoned barrack in Deolali Cantonment in Maharashtra today. Doctors say that Mathew may have been dead for as many as three days.
In a rather predictable move, the army has placed the blame on the media, stating that the viral video featuring Mathew from two months ago caused the soldier so much angst and guilt at having let down his superiors, that it drove him to kill himself.
Mathew’s family says he was in a frightened state when they last spoke to him on January 25.
Mathew’s wife, Fini, said,
He (Roy) called and said channels are playing my visuals and was crying. I want to know what happened to him.
According to Army officials,
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Investigations reveal suicide may be result of series of events which were triggered by media managing to video-graph the deceased by asking leading questions on his duty as a buddy without his knowledge.
Something about this series of events brings to mind ‘A Few Good Men’. A soldier, who dared tell the world what it’s really like on the inside, ends up dead, and the Army is looking everywhere but within its own ranks to allocate blame.
Roy’s family say he was scared. Scared. Not sorry, not guilty, not ashamed, but scared. Think about it, what would frighten a soldier? Death? That’s part of his job description. Retaliation, then? In a system where one is the low man on the totem pole, it makes sense that the one thing that could really scare a soldier would be the wrath of his superiors at having their secrets told to the world.
The way I see it, Mathew was a brave man for having had the courage to speak truth to power. But sadly, with the Army painting him as a coward who took his own life out of guilt and shame, his courage will be forgotten. Far too many people will willingly accept the Army’s theory that the media exposure drove him to suicide. And like Roy Mathew, his courage, and his story, will be wiped out.
Whistleblowers rarely come out on top. Mostly because they go against Goliaths who crush their opponents. Roy’s opponent just happened to be the third largest armed force in the world. Is it any wonder, then, that his voice has been silenced?!