PM plays down jawan-officer faceoff in Samba | delhi | Hindustan Times
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PM plays down jawan-officer faceoff in Samba

Says discussion on incident not good for morale of forces; army orders probe into soldier’s suicide.

delhi Updated: Aug 10, 2012 01:54 IST
HT Correspondents

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday played down the reported face-off between army officers and troopers over a jawan’s suicide in the Samba sector, describing it as a “small incident”.

Singh’s response came in the Rajya Sabha during the zero hour after CPI(M) members said jawans had committed a breach of discipline after the suicide of trooper Arun V. They demanded a response from defence minister AK Antony.

Since Antony was not present in the house, the Prime Minister said, "I request the house not to have a discussion on the subject...This is a very small incident which is being blown out of proportion. It is not good for the morale of our armed forces."

Meanwhile, a senior army officer denied reports of any confrontation between officers and jawans of the unit.

On Wednesday about 60 jawans, of whom 25 are from south India, had staged a noisy protest – which in army parlance amounts to a breach of discipline –after Arun, who is from Kerala, shot himself dead with a service rifle in the morning in Samba district, about 50 km from Jammu.

The army has ordered an inquiry into the soldier’s suicide.

“They were emotionally disturbed. Jawans from south India were most vocal in their protest,” said Samba special superintendent of police Israr Khan.

Defence spokesperson Col RK Palta, however, denied any such protests were held.

According to the police, Arun, along with his colleague Rajiv, was on night duty on Tuesday.

In Rajiv’s version at about 7.45am on Wednesday Arun told him he was going to the barracks.

“After he had gone inside, I heard a gunshot. I rushed to the barracks and started calling Arun but the gates were locked,” Rajiv told the police.

The gates were then broken and Arun was found in a pool of blood.