Sun, 13 May 2012 01:05:13 GMT

Nyoma violence: No mutiny, only indiscipline, says army



New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) The Indian Army Saturday denied reports of a 'mutiny' in one of its artillery units in Nyoma in Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region and claimed that the 'minor scuffle' among its men could only be described as 'an act of indiscipline'.

In a statement issued here, the army headquarters also called some media reports as 'misinterpretation and mischievous reporting to sensationalise the incident'.

Officers and soldiers of the 226 Field Artillery Regiment, which was going through a month-long field training camp, had come to blows at the firing rage in Mahi near Nyoma.

The unit, based in Durbok in Ladakh, was conducting practice-firing at the range on the night of May 10/11 when the violence broke out, resulting in injuries to the regiment's commanding officer Col. P. Kadam, another officer Major A.K. Sharma and Sepoy Suman Ghosh.

The three were identified in an army statement here.

Though the army headquarters did not come out with the reasons for the violence, speculation was rife on two possible scenarios for the officers and the soldiers coming to blows, resulting in minor injuries to some of them.

One account held that three majors in the unit had brought their wives to the field firing range and a soldier had misbehaved with one of the women. This resulted in the officer beating up the soldier.

When other personnel tried to help the injured sepoy, the officers prevented them from doing so, resulting in tempers running high and the two sides coming to blows.

The second claimed that one of the three majors insulted a soldier as their wives were watching. This enraged the soldiers and the scuffle ensued.

However, the army's clarification Saturday said: 'The entire episode can at worst be seen as an isolated act of indiscipline.'

'It can in no way be termed as mutiny,' the army said.

Some reports also claimed that the angry soldiers took control of the armoury for a few hours. The fisticuffs led to three officers running away from the scene. However the army denied any such thing had happened.

'No arms and ammunition have been used by anybody. The armoury has not been captured by the troops as is being wrongly reported.'

The reports also claimed that the commanding officer, who tried to intervene on behalf of an injured soldiers, was attacked by the other officers.

'Col. P. Kadam, the commanding officer, was not assaulted by other officers, as has been wrongly reported. The commanding officer, as well as Maj. A.K. Sharma and Sepoy Suman Ghosh, who suffered superficial injuries, have been given medical treatment,' the army statement said.

The army also noted that the commander of the artillery brigade and the division's general officer commanding reached the Mahi firing range and interacted with the troops on Friday and the situation was brought under control.

'The situation is well under control,' it said, noting that the regiment is being moved back from ranges to its location from Saturday.

The army has instituted a court of inquiry to investigate the circumstances under which the incident took place.

'The inquiry has commenced,' it added.

After the information about the violence came out in the open Friday, the army headquarters had said in a three-line statement that a 'minor scuffle' took place between officers and troops of the unit.

'Few minor injuries were suffered by personnel. The situation is under control and a court of inquiry has been ordered into the incident,' it had said.

©Indo-Asian News Service

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