M A I N   N E W S

After fracas, Leh unit back to base
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 12
The Army today moved its Artillery unit posted at Nyoma, Ladakh, back to its base and flew in two officers to take charge and coordinate the effort. A 226 Field Regiment unit witnessed an unprecedented clash among jawans and officers on May 10-11 in which the Commanding Officer was injured.

The second-in-command of the regiment, who was in Chandigarh on leave, was asked to fly back to Leh while another senior officer joined the regiment for the procedural wrap-up.

The Army has submitted a report to the Defence Ministry, sources said. Army spokesman Col Jagdeep Dahiya said that a Court of Inquiry has begun into the incident.

The regiment was moved out of the Mahe firing range near Nyoma airfield in south-eastern Ladakh to its base, 160 km at Durbok, also in Ladakh. This means shifting the entire armoury with 105mm artillery guns, ammunition and other weapons, besides some 550 men, including officers. The entire 48-hour journey to Durbok is set to be a grueling exercise with narrow roads and an extremely cold temperature.

The Army in a formal statement termed the incident “as an isolated act of indiscipline”. “It can in no way be termed as mutiny,” it said, adding “no arms and ammunition were used and the armoury was not captured as reported.” Commanding Officer Col Prasad Kadam was not assaulted by other officers, it said.

Army sources said nobody has been taken into custody so far and no decision has been taken to disband the unit. The last time some Army units were disbanded was in 1984 post-Operation Blue Star.

Col Dahiya dismissed reports that any officer had been removed. “The court of inquiry will identify the complicity of officers and men. However, nobody has been removed, dismissed or suspended.”

Under the Army’s iron-cast rules of discipline, Col Kadam and the unit’s Subedar-Major, who is supposed to keep his ears to the ground, may face action.





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