Jawans rage, Army top brass scotches mutiny rumors

Deadly fracas in JAK LI unit in Aruchal

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, May 15: A soldier died, probably of a heart attack, when his unit was sent for a 10 km march, sparking a deadly outrage among the jawans who ran riot, attacking their seniors, leaving at least five  officers seriously injured.

The army admitted that an incident of jawans attacking some officers did take place, but was tight-lipped about the place where it took place. However, The Sentinel has learnt that the incident occurred at Hayalung in Aruchal Pradesh where one of the J&K Light Infantry (JAK LI) units of the army are deployed.

Sources said a scuffle broke out between a jawan and the captain of his unit, after which a 10-km march was ordered as a punishment drill.

One soldier refused to march, complaining of chest pain, but his plea was allegedly not considered.

The soldier died during the march, apparently of heart attack.

According to an official source, 10-km marches cannot be ordered at such high altitude places.

The other jawans, outraged at the death of their colleague, attacked the captain, allegedly with rods. A subedar major tried to calm down the agitated soldiers, but he too was bashed up. Sources also said that the commander of the unit was forced to flee.

Five injured officers were admitted at an army hospital. Sources said the captain sustained injuries, including the skull and other vital organs.

The army, however, tried to downplay the incident. In an official statement, the Army said: "A case of death of a jawan during routine training activity has taken place in an infantry unit in the Northeast. It is not a case of any mutiny. The jawan complained of chest pain prior to route march - was checked by unit MO (Medical Officer) and found fit. The jawan later collapsed during route march - was brought to the Field Ambulance where he succumbed. (sic)"

The army said four to five soldiers got emotiol when they were being consoled by a senior and "indulged in agitated behaviour leading to minor scuffle".

The statement was issued after reports emerged on social media of a "mutiny-like" situation in the area.

The Army Headquarters in Delhi has denied any other individual was seriously injured. The Army has also denied that reinforcement units have moved into the area when the situation was getting out of hand.

However, the army chief has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident, it is learnt.

In 2012, in another instance of indiscipline, soldiers had attacked senior officers in Nyoma in Ladakh in an incident the Army dismissed as a "scuffle in an artillery unit during field firing".

Subsequent reports, however, revealed that the soldiers went out of control after senior officers severely assaulted one of their colleagues and their commanding officer.

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