Constable Tej Bahadur Yadav of the Border Security Force has caused quite a sensation despite his humble rank. The Union Home Minister was forced to take note and several of his colleagues were compelled to swing into the damage control mode. But the superiors of the humble constable, the backbone of the force guarding most of our frontiers, did not come away smelling of roses. The response from the BSF was insensitive and tactless and it should be hauled over the coals for suggesting that Yadav was a chronic trouble-maker. For good measure, the BSF even labelled him an alcoholic. In the age of social media where there is a level-playing field, the balance was clearly tilted in the complainant’s favour.Yadav has infringed the set procedures in a uniformed force where adherence to the chain of command is the sine qua non for its efficient functioning. He also does not have the advantage of claiming protection under the Whistle Blower Protection Act for it prohibits the reporting of a corruption-related disclosure if the subject concerns the security of India. Yadav may yet escape the fate of other dissenters in a highly disciplined and authoritarian institution because of the goodwill earned for his apparent sincerity. Whether Yadav had breached discipline or had a bee in his bonnet, his allegations need to be thoroughly probed.But this is also the occasion to cast the net wider and examine whether the BSF and the CRPF are overstretched and if the strains are showing. The CRPF is often deployed frequently and somewhat whimsically. An amendment to the BSF Act in 2011 extended its area of operations and it is now on anti-insurgency duty as well. It also needs to be studied whether staffing their top levels with IPS officers is part of the problem. A thorough examination has become necessary after other BSF jawans spilt the beans about the poor clothing, housing and deployment as well. Our soldiers and policemen deserve every bit of attention and comfort we can provide them. Muzzling is no answer.