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Army officers, jawans clash in Leh; inquiry ordered

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 11, 2012 20:40 IST
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A group of army officers and jawans clashed in an artillery regiment near here following an incident of alleged misbehaviour involving an orderly prompting the army to order a court of inquiry into the incident.

The trigger for the clash took place late yesterday afternoon in Nyoma sub-district when a jawan allegedly misbehaved with a Major who is said to have beaten him up, official sources said.

However, the jawans denied that one of their men had indulged in any molestation. Officers and jawans of 226 Field Regiment were undergoing firing practice at this place.

Tension gripped the army camp where the jawans briefly took control of the armoury but did not withdraw any weapons.

Army chief Gen V K Singh spoke to Northern commander K T Parnaik and discussed the issue.

The army, meanwhile, ordered a Court of Inquiry into the incident in which Commanding Officer of 226 Field Regiment

Colonel Kadam was injured and was taken to Leh base hospital.

"The situation is under control and a Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the incident," Army Spokesperson Colonel Jagdeep Dahiya said.

The inquiry order came after the defence ministry sought a report from the Army on the incident that took place Thursday night.

"A minor scuffle took place between the officers and the troops of a unit on the night of 10-11 May in Ladakh", he said, adding "a few minor injuries were suffered by the personnel."

The Major allegedly did not allow medical treatment for the 'sahayak' fuelling anger among the colleagues who objected, the sources said.

The news reached Col Kadam who was camping in nearby police guest house. He immediately reached the scene and gauging the mood shouted at the Major for his reluctance to allow the injured 'sahayak' being taken for treatment.

Seeing this, the Major along with five of his officer colleagues beat the Commanding Officer, a Colonel, in front of jawans. This angered the jawans who then went berserk and beat the other officers with sticks, the sources said.

Nearly 40 to 50 jawans then started a search for Major rank officers. Two were found in nearby camp and were beaten up, the sources said, adding they were rescued after an intervention by the local police.

Three Majors were still hiding and are believed to have moved towards Chashool army camp located on the Sino-India border, the sources said.

The 226-Field Regiment Unit has been cordoned and senior officers of Leh-based 14 Corps have rushed to the scene, they said.

Tempers cooled down on Friday afternoon when General Officer-in-Command of Third Infantry division A L Chowhan assured the jawans, who had captured the armoury, that action will be taken against the erring officers, the sources said.

The sources said though the jawans had armoury under their control, no withdrawal of weapons has been resorted to.

Superintendent of Police (Leh) Vivek Gupta was camping in Nyoma along with heavy reinforcements following a report by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate that army jawans, armed with sticks and knives, were holding protest, the sources said.

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