A soldier died on Sunday during training in Arunachal Pradesh, leading to some of his angry colleagues roughing up an officer in the infantry battalion.
Ruling out reports of mutiny, the army said no one sustained serious injuries in the scuffle.
An army source said a group of four to five soldiers was upset on hearing the news of their colleague’s death and got involved in a scuffle with the captain trying to console them.
A soldier complained of chest pain before a 10-km march, but was “found fit” by the unit’s medical officer, the source said, explaining what led to the brawl.
The soldier was rushed to a field medical facility after he collapsed, but could not be saved.
The army has ordered an investigation into the incident. “It is not a case of mutiny. A few jawans got emotional and agitated…No one was injured seriously,” said an officer in New Delhi.
Defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Suneet Newton said it was a “minor scuffle.”
The scuffle between the soldiers and the officer is the fifth instance of breach of military discipline in the army during the last five to six years.
A boxing bout turned into a bare-knuckles street fight between officers and personnel of an infantry unit near Meerut in 2013. Two majors and a soldier were hospitalised.
The Meerut incident came a year after four soldiers of 226 Field Artillery Regiment, including the unit’s commanding officer and his deputy, were injured in a brawl between officers and soldiers in Ladakh’s Nyoma sector. A soldier had misbehaved with the wife of a major, triggering the face-off.
Another army unit, 16 Cavalry, witnessed an officer-soldier spat in 2012, leading to disciplinary action against 60 personnel. In April 2010, there was a clash between officers and personnel of 45 Cavalry near Gurdaspur.