A fresh autopsy was ordered on Saturday on the body of a 33-year-old soldier from Kerala whose body found in an abandoned barrack after a sting video on the alleged abuse of the sahayak (buddy) system in the army. The autopsy has been ordered following a request from his family.
Lance Naik Roy Mathew, 33, had been reported missing since 25 February and his decomposed body was later found hanging from the ceiling of an abandoned barrack in Deolali Cantonment, Nashik.
“I want justice and I want to know what happened to my husband,” Finy, Mathew's wife, said on Saturday at the Thiruvananthapuram airport where his body arrived earlier in the morning.
A relative said: “He was a jawan and served the country for 14 years. The entire episode seems to be mysterious and no one knows what has happened to him. And even after the body arrived, the convention is to immediately drape the coffin in the Indian
Tricolour and that too did not take place.”
The relative approached the District Collector seeking permission for a a fresh post mortem.
“The request was made today (Saturday) morning and the sanction was given for it soon. The post mortem will be conducted at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital and then the body would be handed over,” said Kollam Sub-Collector K Chithra.
Mathew’s relatives are deeply upset at the manner in which army officials in Deolali handled the case. They say that Mathew last spoke to his wife last on 25 February, and after that the calls they made to him never got connected. After a few days, they were shocked when a call came from his army unit saying that Mathew was dead.
“We saw some visuals of Mathew which show that there were injury marks on his feet. We suspect that there is an attempt to cover up the death,” said another relative.
Mathew was part of a video exposing the alleged abuse of the sahayak system, which went viral on social media. Hailing from Karuvelil in Kollam, Kerala, he was posted as an orderly and attached with a colonel at the Deolali School of Artillery.
In the video, Mathew had reportedly said that higher officials allegedly mistreated their sahayaks and forced them to do petty jobs like polishing shoes, washing clothes and taking their pet dogs for walks.