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Denied leave, jawan kills Major in J&K

A sepoy from the Bihar regiment gunned down a colleague in Kashmir’s Gurez sector, reports Rahul Singh.

india Updated: Jul 25, 2007 03:48 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times

A sepoy from the Bihar regiment gunned down a colleague in Kashmir’s Gurez sector on Monday night, an act that shows the army’s drive to hand out death penalties to soldiers guilty of fragging has had little effect.

The army has sentenced three soldiers to death in recent months to drive home the message that fragging will warrant no leniency. Sepoy Mohan Chand Munda, nonetheless, turned his Kalashnikov on Major P Alexander. Defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel AK Mathur said Munda shot his senior in a “fit of unexplained rage”. Sources said he was outraged over “denial” of leave by the officer. Munda has been arrested and an inquiry ordered.

This year has seen six incidents of fragging so far; there were 23 last year. A report military psychologists submitted to the Defence Ministry recently attributes such killings to various factors, including poor morale, incorrect ways of maintaining discipline, senseless demands by superiors, monotonous duties and class conflict. The Defence Institute of Psychological Research has underlined in its latest report that “prolonged inter-personal hostility and underlying anger might become the cause of a host of negative factors, like fragging”.

Military psychologists, whom HT spoke to, say fragging could be a self-preservation step for the killer or a means to resist unjust conflict. Pointing out remedial measures, they say officers should keep an eye out for soldier fatigue and plan and rehearse operations in advance. Timely redress of grievances and ensuring the availability of basic facilities for troops have been dubbed equally critical.

Experts say fragging could also be linked to the mental health of troops. The army has recorded a 45 per cent jump in the number of troops discharged due to such disorders in the last three years. Fragging apart, over 450 soldiers have committed suicide since 2002.

With inputs from Rashid Ahmad

First Published: Jul 25, 2007 03:37 IST