THE ARMY has ordered a Court of Inquiry (CoI) to investigate the reasons behind the ‘unrest’ in an infantry battalion of the Army in the North East last month.
Sources said the inquiry panel was headed by a Brigadier rank officer and included two Colonels who are commanding units in the same area. These officers – Brig S K Chawla, Commander 2 Mountain Artillery Brigade, Col P K Singh, CO 502 ASC Battalion and Col Lakshman Singh, CO 11 Grenadiers – are investigating the incidents pertaining to May 11 when a confrontation took place between some jawans of 8 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (8 JAK RIF) and officers of the unit at a location in Arunachal Pradesh.
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The sources said that Army Rule 180, which pertains to military reputation of a person, has been invoked for several jawans and officers of the unit who are to be examined by the inquiry, which is taking place at Headquarters of 2 Mountain Division in Dinjan.
Among the officers who are to be examined are the then officiating Commanding Officer of the battalion, the Regimental Medical Officer and several other officers. The actual commanding officer of the unit was away on leave when the alleged fracas took place and he was urgently recalled to take over command.
The Army had termed the unrest in the unit as an “emotional response” by a few jawans after a jawan died of a heart attack following a route march. The jawan had earlier complained of some unease but had been medically examined and found fit.
The sources said the genesis of the indiscipline shown by some jawans – who raised slogans besides allegedly manhandling officers – lay in the events of preceding days when some jawans had been caught in an out of bounds area. The inquiry is expected to look into the circumstances leading up to the fateful day in detail in order to find out if there was any laxity on the part of anyone.
As a large number of witnesses are to be examined by the CoI, its completion is expected to take time.