Maharajganj: Guarding the 84 kilometre open border area of India and Nepal, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) Jawans are confronting a new challenge. Setting alarm bells ringing amongst the top brass of the paramilitary force, six SSB Jawans recently tested HIV positive. Taking the issue seriously, the intelligence unit of SSB has started the investigation into the matter.

According to sources, HIV-positive females are supplied to the SSB jawans patrolling the borders. The alleged involvement of China and ISI in the issue cannot be ruled out.

Seven companies of SSB including more than 950 Jawans are deployed to maintain vigil on the Indo-Nepal border in the Maharajganj district. Due to reported eve teasing, arguments between villagers and SSB Jawans are frequent in the area. According to sources, several SSB Jawans have developed relations with women involved in sex trade.

The Red Ribbon Express that arrived at Nautanwa in September tested blood samples of 40 Jawans of which six were found positive and they are being provided the medical treatment.  Since the identity of HIV positive Jawans has not been disclosed, their details are not mentioned in the records of the District Health Department.

Co-coordinator, Red Ribbon Express and Upper Chief Medical Officer Dr SK Singh said, “The list of the HIV Jawans is available with the Uttar Pradesh AIDS Control Society.” However, SSB Commandant Lalit Kumar denied any such information in this regard. He said, “Medical check-up of the soldiers is conducted every year. Next year, the HIV test will be included in the process.”