After the Army’s ‘sahayak’ system was criticized by various human rights groups and individuals, the Army is evaluating the possibility of doing away with the ‘sahayak’ system. It may be recalled that the ‘sahayak’ system was established during the British rule, and human rights activists say that it has no relevance in independent India. A ‘sahayak’ is basically a buddy who helps an officer perform various tasks. However, in recent times, the ‘sahayak’ system has been criticized for treating these soldiers as servants. A number of videos have also surfaced wherein soldiers could be seen protesting against the ‘sahayak’ system. Human rights activists say that it is a colonial legacy and it needs to end.
In face of the rising criticism, the Army is now actively considering the possibility of ending the ‘sahayak’ system. However, this would be done in phases. The Army is evaluating the idea of hiring civilians for the role of ‘sahayaks’. However, civilians will only be hired for locations that are relatively peaceful. Civilians cannot be hired at strategic Army bases, as it would increase the security risk. The Army is also thinking about introducing new guidelines to prevent misuse of jawans working as sahayaks.