Nyoma incident: Army to court-martial 168

Last Updated 25 March 2013, 20:48 IST

The Army will court-martial 168 men in uniform for triggering and participating in a brawl last year at Nyoma in Ladakh that led to a “mutiny-like situation” in that unit.

A court of inquiry probing the face-off between officers and men from 226 field regiment recommended “disciplinary action” against four officers, including Commanding Officer Col P Kadam, 17 junior commissioned officers and 147 soldiers.

This is for a first time that a court-martial procedure has been initiated against such a large number of men in uniform in the armed forces. Senior Army officers confirmed there was no parallel in the past.

The fracas took place on May 10, 2012, when a soldier (Sepoy Suman Ghosh) walked into a room in a General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) mess where the wife of one young officer was taking bath. The spouses were in the mess, about 8 km away from Mahe field firing range, where officers were doing target practice.

On hearing this incident from a woman at lunch, a bunch of young officers beat up the sepoy black and blue and later prevented others from carrying him to the medical room for treatment. A rumour quickly spread in the ranks that Ghosh was beaten to death.
What happened subsequently is a free for all in which several officers were thrashed by the soldiers, who in turn received retaliation from the officers. At the end, three officers, including the CO, and eight soldiers were injured and received medical treatment.

As tempers ran high, senior officers rushed to the site to calm down frayed nerves. The commander of the artillery brigade, Brig Kanan and his superior, Maj Gen A L Chavan, commander of the Leh-based 3 Infantry division, held discussions with the troops to quell the situation. The mutinous situation was brought under control after two days of parleys.

A court of inquiry was held under Brig Ajay Talwar, who submitted his report to 14 Corps headquarters in Leh in first week of December, 2012. The Northern Army Commander has recently confirmed the CoI recommendations.

After examining 215 witnesses, including five officers, 21 JCOs and 189 soldiers, the CoI

(Published 25 March 2013, 19:54 IST)

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