Army, cops clash in J&K; 3 Lt Cols among 16 booked | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Army, cops clash in J&K; 3 Lt Cols among 16 booked

ByMir Ehsan, Srinagar
May 31, 2024 06:06 AM IST

The soldiers barged into the police station after one the men from their unit was detained by the local cops in connection with a crime-related case, the officials said, asking not to be named

The Jammu & Kashmir Police have booked 16 soldiers from the Territorial Army (TA), including three lieutenant colonels, for storming into police station in Kupwara, and beating up five policemen on duty with rifle butts, kicks and sticks, officials aware of the matter said on Thursday.

The local police blamed the soldiers of 160 TA battalion—deployed in Trehgam — for not only thrashing but also abducting a policeman on duty, a serious accusation that could vitiate the atmosphere in a sensitive area. (AP)
The local police blamed the soldiers of 160 TA battalion—deployed in Trehgam — for not only thrashing but also abducting a policeman on duty, a serious accusation that could vitiate the atmosphere in a sensitive area. (AP)

TA is a part of the Indian Army and is headed by a three-star ranked army officer.

The soldiers barged into the police station after one the men from their unit was detained by the local cops in connection with a crime-related case, the officials said, asking not to be named.

The unsavoury clash took place on Tuesday night, even while the local army authorities sought to downplay the episode the day it unfolded.

The army personnel now face serious charges.

In a first information report (FIR) filed on Thursday, several charges were slapped against the army personnel, including attempt to murder, causing harm to a public servant with the intent to deter him from performing his duty and other charges under the Arms Act.

The local police blamed the soldiers of 160 TA battalion—deployed in Trehgam — for not only thrashing but also abducting a policeman on duty, a serious accusation that could vitiate the atmosphere in a sensitive area.

The officers named in the FIR are Lieutenant Colonels Ankit Sood, Raju Chauhan and Nikhil from TA, a voluntary, part-time citizen’s army modelled on the lines of the UK territorial army. To be sure, TA is controlled by the Indian Army, has garrisons in or near cantonments and military stations, and its ranks are accorded by the Indian Army. TA units are commanded by colonels from the Indian Army.

Army officers in the rank of captain, major and lieutenant colonel also serve TA units on deputation, although the parent cadre of the three officers named in the FIR wasn’t immediately known.

The development comes at a time when an army court of inquiry (CoI) into the custodial deaths of three civilians in an army camp near Poonch following a terror ambush in which four soldiers were killed last December is at an advanced stage and strict action is likely to be taken against those found guilty of lapses.

The police FIR, accessed by Hindustan Times, said a “huge number of armed and uniformed personnel of 160 Territorial Army” led by the three officers “unauthorisedly entered the premiss (premises)” of police station, Kupwara.

“They (army personnel) collectively and without any provocation in the form of unlawful assembly severely attacked the staff and officers present at the police station with rifle butts, kicks and sticks.”

The FIR said the jawans, led by the three lieutenant colonels carrying weapons, snatched the mobile phones of the injured police personnel and SHO Inspector Mohammad Ishaq before abducting a police man, Ghulam Rasool, who was later released after the detained army man was set free.

Employed graduates aged between 18 and 42 years are eligible to join the TA as officers, and don the army uniform. Under the part-time serving model, the reservists are required to serve for at least two months every year, though most of them end up serving full-time because of the organisation’s requirements.

TA units have taken part in all post-Independence wars and operations.

While the exact sequence of events was sketchy when this report was filed, HT has learnt that it all began after a police team allegedly raided the home of a local TA jawan at Batpora in Kupwara in connection with a local crime.

Meanwhile, a video of the army personnel thrashing the police men went viral, with many people demanding action against the officers and the jawans.

On Tuesday, the army termed reports of the altercation between the police and the army as “unfounded” shortly after rumours floated about four policemen being injured in a scuffle with army personnel.

“Reports of an altercation between police and army personnel and beating up therein of police personnel are unfounded and incorrect. Minor differences between the police personnel and a territorial army unit on an operational matter have been amicably resolved,” defence spokesperson MK Sahu had said in a statement.

Special police officers Rayees Khan, Imtiyaz Malik and constables Saleem Mushtaq, Zahoor Ahmad — posted at Kupwara police station — were admitted to Sher- e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital at Soura late on Tuesday night, the officials said, adding that a case had already been registered and a senior police officer has been asked to investigate the case.

Officials in Delhi said that senior army and police officials were monitoring the developments in the case.

In the Poonch incident being probed by the army, the three civilians were among the nine people picked up by the army from Topa Peer village for questioning, a day after the four soldiers were killed in the ambush at Dhatyar Morh in Surankote area on December 21, 2023.

A separate probe into lapses in the conduct of operations is also at an advanced stage.

Days after the December 21 attack, defence minister Rajnath Singh and army chief General Manoj Pande visited the area and carried out a security review. The area was tense following the ambush and the custodial deaths.

Singh also met the families of the deceased persons and assured expeditious investigation into the incident, culminating in the delivery of justice.

On December 21, army vehicles were navigating a blind curve at Dhatyar Morh between Dera ki Gali (DKG) area and Bulfiaz when they came under heavy fire from terrorists. The vehicles were carrying soldiers to an active operation site in the DKG area, a few kilometres away.

Facing a backlash against the custodial deaths, the army then moved out three officers, including a brigadier, from Poonch pending the probe.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Budget 2024, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On