iconimg Monday, August 31, 2015

S Raju, Hindustan Times
Meerut, October 12, 2013
Two Army majors were assaulted by irate jawans after one of their colleagues was allegedly thrashed by a superior officer for losing a match during an inter-unit boxing tournament here on Thursday night. The injured personnel are from the Army’s Delhi-based 10 Sikh Light Infantry Regiment, who are here for the past couple of days for the boxing tournament being held at the Sikh Lines inside the Army cantonment.

All through the day on Friday, Army authorities tried to hide the incident, claiming that the two officers and the jawan suffered “minor injuries” during clashes between supporters of two rival units during a boxing match.

The official spokesperson of west Uttar Pradesh sub area colonel RS Sethi too refused to comment, saying that he had no knowledge about “such an incident”.

However, by evening the real cause began emerging when questions were asked why the three have been admitted to the military hospital here for so long if their injuries were minor. The second officer is also a major.

Sources in the army said that the jawan, who was assaulted by the commanding officer for losing a boxing match, suffered serious injuries on his ribs. When his condition deteriorated in the night, fellow-jawans requested the CO and the station master (SM) to admit him in hospital for treatment. The jawans were enraged when the officers did not respond “satisfactorily” and manhandled both of them, forcing them to flee.

Thereafter, a major and his second-in-command were sent to settle the matter but they too faced the wrath of the angry jawans and were injured. 

As the situation threatened to deteriorate further, senior officers visited the camp where the jawans were staying and made arrangements to admit the jawan to the military hospital.

A senior officer of the military hospital confirmed that two officers of major rank and a jawan have been admitted with “minor injuries”. He, however, failed to give a satisfactory reply when asked why they were being hospitalised for such a long period if the injuries were “minor”.
The Army initially tried to play down the matter by describing it as a minor clash between supporters of two rival group during the tournament and that the officers sustained injuries when they intervened to control the jawans.

On the other hand, a brigadier-level officer said that stern action would be initiated against all those found guilty.

In the recent past, the Indian army has witnessed many incidents of fratricide, when ‘stressed out’ jawans shoot superior officers for different reasons. Army sources, however, said that Thursday’s incident did not fall in that category.