Army is adopting a two-pronged strategy to check the fragging syndrome among its cadres that lead to shootout by the soldiers. Five incidents of shootout by the soldiers were reported across Jammu and Kashmir in the past two weeks which left eight jawans and a Lt Colonel dead.
A soldier of 28-RR shot dead the commanding officer of his army unit at Dara near Harvan in capital Srinagar on October 31. The accused soldier SC Bahra was miffed after the officer, Lt Colonel Saket Saxena, refused to grant him leave. On October 28,
Satyam Kumar, a signalman at Udhampur headquarters of Northern Command, opened fire with his service rifle at a guard commander, Havaldar Padamranjan, killing him on spot. Another soldier Balwan Singh was injured in the shootout.
The signalman had entered into some heated argument with the guard commander over some issue, which culminated in the shootout. Three Army jawans were killed and two others injured when a soldier fired indiscriminately inside an Army camp at Narian on Rajouri-Nowshera road on October 21. Two days later, on October 23, another Army jawan gunned down his two colleagues before ending his life in Keval area of Budhal in Rajouri district while they were on patrol duty. Another jawan committed suicide in Rajouri district of Jammu province on October 27.
The frequent occurrence of cop-runs-amok (CRA) cases has perturbed the security authorities. They say that the jawans operate under stressful conditions in Jammu and Kashmir, which lead to such incidents. The army authorities are working out procedural measures to train jawans to operate under inhospitable conditions.
Army chief played down these incidents and said that there was nothing big in it. He however added that they would adopt a "proactive approach to tackle the problem". "We have a huge army of 1.3 million. Around 100 odd such cases are reported every year. Given the huge size of our army, it is not something big", army chief General JJ Singh said, "but we will address the issue. We are taking short-term as also long-term measures to root out the problem", he said. Army chief was talking to reporters during a function at Rangreth in Srinagar on Friday.
He said that the army would soon start training programme for the jawans during which they would be taught how to operate under stressful conditions. "We are also taking measures to lessen the gap between the jawan and the officer", he said, "and wherever possible jawans would be allowed to live on with their families in the army camps".
He said that besides these immediate measures, there would be pay revision of the army as a long-term measure. He said that infrastructure would be raised for the accommodation of the families of jawans in the army formations.
Army chief said that even as level of violence in Jammu and Kashmir had gone down by 30 per cent, infiltration however continued. "There is 30 per cent decrease in violent incidents in Jammu and Kashmir and civilian casualties reduced to a minimum", he said, "but the infiltration is still on".
The army chief rejected the allegations of human rights violations and said a majority of the complaints during the past 15 years proved to be untrue on inquiry. "Only 4 per cent complaints proved true and the army has awarded punishment to 110 officers, JCOs and soldiers," he said adding that complaints of human rights violations had also come down.
Commenting on joint anti-terror mechanism, he said that it was at the discussion level yet, "but we are concerned that cross-border terrorism and infiltration are still continuing".