Dismissed jawan tries to burn self

Shunted out of BSF nearly 14 years ago

 Protesting against his dismissal from the Border Security Force 14 years ago on medical grounds, a 39-year-old man tried to immolate himself near the Parliament on Friday afternoon.

He was taken into custody before he could set himself ablaze. Police said the man appears mentally unstable and was dismissed from service on grounds of mental fitness.

Ashok Kumar was dismissed from BSF in 2000 after he was declared mentally unstable. He claimed to have repeatedly approached senior officers in the forces as well as Home Ministry, including the Home Minister, but claims he was never given a proper hearing.

Kumar claimed that he was wrongly punished by his superiors for stopping a truck in Assam that was allegedly ferrying cows in a truck to Bangladesh. He was in 1999 posted in the 95th Battalion at the Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam.

“My colleagues and I were guarding the border on Eid when the truck carrying cows tried to cross the border. As I stopped the truck, my seniors labeled me as mentally unstable and dismissed me,” he alleged. His two colleagues were allegedly excused with the seniors saying one was drunk and another was sleeping.

He alleged that he had received fitness certificate thrice from AIIMS, which declared him fit, but that was not enough to convince his superiors.

However, sources in the BSF claimed that he retired in 2000 on the grounds that his medical condition could never improve. “A BSF medical board sought opinion from civil doctors who said he was suffering from bipolar affective disorder. He was mentally disturbed and unfit for service,” said the source.

“He was ineligible for pension as he had served only for six years and nine months. Those who do not serve 10 years do not receive pension,” the source added.

But Kumar sought refuse in his current profession saying had he been mentally unstable, he wouldn’t be successfully repairing fridges and air-conditioners for a living.
On Friday afternoon, he arrived at Vijay Chowk, which is only a few metres way from the Parliament. He had carried a banner and had arrived with his wife and a four-year-old son and two teenage daughters. Police said he had carried a banner and was shouting that he was denied justice.

He was stopped by security forces at Vijay Chowk. Kumar set put the banner on fire and then poured kerosene on himself. But just as he was about to set himself on fire, policemen present on the spot rescued him and took to Parliament Street police station. He said he intended to burn an effigy, but would have carried on with self-immolation.

S B S Tyagi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi district), told Deccan Herald that Kumar’s wife has told police that she had repeatedly stopped him from going ahead with his plan.

“He has been sent for a medical test to ascertain if he is mentally and physically fit,” said Tyagi. No case has been registered against him so far.

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