– officers, soldiers lock horns once again
– another similar incident took place earlier in May
– Commander 9th Corps rushes to handle situation
– over a thousand Indian personnel commit suicides
From Ajay Mehta
NEW DELHI – Indian Army has been hit by yet another intensive breach of discipline with a grim stand-off erupting between officers and soldiers of an Armoured Unit after a soldier committed suicide at a military camp in the border district of Samba in the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir on yesterday.
The latest incident of its kind took place soon after the officers and soldiers of an artillery regiment deployed in the Nyoma sub-district of eastern Ladakh had violently clashed with each other - which left the Unit Commanding Officer, two Majors and two soldiers grievously injured in May this yerar
The latest incident was triggered when a soldier, Arun V, who hails from Thiruvananthapuram, shot himself with his service rifle in the camp of the 16th Light Cavalry at Samba in the morning. He died on the spot.
Highly reliable sources told The Daily Mail that tension between the officers and the soldiers of the 16th Cavalry had been "simmering for quite some time" without any preventive or pre-emptive steps being taken. The suicide proved to be the tipping point. "Angry soldier, then ganged up to surround the officers and their residences in protest, leading to a prolonged face-off," the sources said.
The gravity of the situation and the "complete failure of command and control" reached such a stage that senior officers, including the Commander of the Yol-based 9 Corps, Lt-General A K Bhalla had to rush to the spot to calm down inflamed tempers. All officers of the 16th Cavalry were subsequently moved out of their residences and attached to different messes as a precautionary move to prevent the trouble from escalating further.
There were even indications that two Army units had been rushed to Samba, which houses a Brigade and the armoured regiment, to control the situation. The Army HQ in New Delhi, on being contacted, said a court of inquiry had been ordered into the incident. “ it was really a very shameful and sad incident and clearly indicates the lose grip of Command in the area by the local commanders’, said Colonel H Sawhney, Director Media of Director General of Public Information (ADGPI) of the Indian Army, when contacted by The Daily Mail for comments over the issue.
All this does not happen if the case is of a simple suicide. Incidentally, Indian Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday told Parliament that as many as 1,018 soldiers had committed suicide since 2003, with the yearly toll regularly climbing over 100. Incidents of fragging (to kill or wound a fellow soldier) have also become a regular phenomenon in the 1.13-million strong Army.
A report by the Defence Institute of Psychological Research had earlier held that "perceived humiliation and harassment, over and above occupational and familial causes", at the hands of their superiors often serves as the final "trigger" for soldiers in stress-related cases in the armed forces.