Several Army officers and policemen were injured in violent clashes between the men in uniform in the wee hours of Thursday following an overnight altercation in Madhya Pradesh’s commercial hub.
A group of over 100 Army officers also allegedly ransacked the Vijay Nagar police station in Indore and manhandled a woman officer after two of their colleagues were picked up around midnight, according to OP Tripathi, the superintendent of police (East).
The Army men allegedly damaged several vehicles parked inside the police station premises, broke furniture and computers and even took away the hard disk storing CCTV footage besides the service rifle of a constable.
All the Army personnel were from the Army War College in Mhow, around 20 km from Indore. Every year, more than 1000 officers are trained at the college on the concepts and doctrines of warfare.
Though the Army has not issued any official statement on the incident, defence sources said several officers involved in the fracas could face disciplinary action including reduced grading in the final exams.
The sources added that one officer who was left with a fractured leg during the fracas may not be able to continue in the Infantry wing due to the serious nature of his injury.
The officer, besides two others, has been shifted to the command hospital in Lucknow, the sources added.
Police said that trouble started around midnight when a several Army officers, who were on a night out in Indore, were accosted by a police team.
When the Army men said they were officers from Mhow, one of the policeman allegedly said, “Kya ukhad lega?” (So, what will you do?)
This led to an argument followed by one Army officer allegedly attacking the policemen and breaking the radio set in the PCR van.
After two of the Armymen were detained and brought to the police station, a 100-strong group of defence personnel arrived in the wee hours and allegedly ransacked police property, Tripathi added.
DIG Santosh Kumar Singh said after a meeting with the Officiating Commandant at Mhow, Maj Gen Marwar and district collector P Narahari on Thursday evening that the Army has “identified 52 army officers (involved in the altercation)”.
Army sources said an internal inquiry has been instituted and action is likely against an officer who stole a police rifle. On Thursday morning, the police station premises resembled a battle zone with broken furniture, computers and window panes littered all around.
Policemen present during the fracas said that one of the police officers, who was apparently the main target of the armymen, locked himself inside a toilet and fled by breaking open a plywood door at the rear.
An accused of abetment for suicide, who was detained by police on Wednesday night, told media persons that policemen hid beneath tables to save themselves from the fury of the Army men.