NEWS

'Lance Naik Roy Mathew Wasn't Aware He Was Being Shot,' Family Blames Media For Duping Him

Army says the journalist asked him leading questions.

04/03/2017 8:50 AM IST | Updated 04/03/2017 1:59 PM IST
Screenshot from YouTube

After the suicide of Lance Naik Roy Mathew on Friday, the Army and his family have blamed the media for his untimely demise.

Reports suggest that Mathew, who had appeared in a sting operation done by The Quint on the 'sahayak' system in the Indian Army, was not aware that he was filmed and committed suicide out of fear action against him.

The Indian Express quoted his brother John as saying, "The media cheated him... His family has lost their sole breadwinner... Roy never knew that the journalist was secretly shooting him."

The army was also of the opinion that the sting video, that has now been taken down by the news website, drove him to take his own life.

Ritu Kapur, co-founder of The Quint, did not respond to a text message requesting comment on the issue.

His uncle Thomas Kutti told India Today that Mathew felt harassed. "He called on February 23, 24 and finally on 25th, at about 8pm, he called his wife and was crying. He felt harassed. He feared his career would be ruined because his conversation with the journalist was telecasted and perhaps he was asked to explain his actions by the army."

A statement from the army also indicated that the "leading questions" by the media through which Mathew revealed information may have been the reason for him to commit suicide.

""Preliminary investigations have now revealed the suicide may be a result of a series of events which were triggered by media personnel managing to video-graph the deceased by asking leading questions on his duties as a 'buddy' (to a Colonel) without his knowledge. It is very likely the guilt factor of letting down his superiors or conveying a false impression to an unknown individual, led him to take the extreme step," The Economic Times quoted the statement from the Indian Army as saying.

A PTI report said that Mathew had sent a text message to his superior officer with the words "Sorry."

The jawan's wife Fini told The Telegraph, "He had called me and was upset about what was being shown on television. He was crying. I told him not to worry. Later when I tried calling him, his phone was switched off. I want to know what happened."

Mathew was found hanging in his room on Thursday and was said to have been missing from his artillery since February 25. The 33-year-old was stationed at the Deolali Cantonment of Maharashtra.

The sting operation showed that 'sahayaks' were ill-treated by senior officers and were made to take their children to school, walk their dogs or even take their wives shopping.

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