Officers-troops come to blows in Meerut, three injured

Officers-troops come to blows in Meerut, three injured

In yet another instance of indiscipline in the army, a soldier and two officers, including the second in command of a unit, were injured in a violent clash during a boxing match near Uttar Pradesh's Meerut city, army officials said Friday.

A senior army official said in New Delhi that the incident occurred Thursday evening in the 10 Sikh Light Infantry battalion, based in Delhi but currently on "collective training" at Dabathwa, about 15 km from Meerut.

The Sikh Light Infantry is the parent regiment of Army chief Gen Bikram Singh.
He said that the two officers injured in the clash were of the rank of major.
The official said a court of inquiry has been ordered and the injured have been admitted to the military hospital.

"The incident happened yesterday (Thursday) in 10 Sikh Light Infantry which was on training. A scuffle took place during the inter-company boxing competition. Two officers and one other rank suffered injuries," he said.

The official did not give details about the cause of incident, saying there were several versions which need to be verified.

He also did not confirm if it was a clash between officers and other ranks and the number of people involved.

However, another officer said that group of officers and soldiers were engaged in a verbal spat during a boxing event that deteriorated into fisticuffs.

He said that junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and soldiers ganged up to take on senior officers, adding that the matter was "very serious" and the probe would identify the guilty.

"Nobody will go unpunished. Such acts cannot be tolerated in a highly disciplined environment," the officer said.

There have been instances of "scuffles" involving officers and other ranks over the past few years raising concerns about the stress levels in the force that is proud of its discipline and work ethos.

There was a face off between officers and men of the 16th Cavalry Regiment in Samba in August last year after a soldier shot himself dead there.

Officers and soldiers of the 226 Field Artillery Regiment, which was going through a month-long field training camp, had come to blows at the firing rage in Mahi near Nyoma in Ladakh in May last year.

In April 2010, an altercation had taken place between an officer and a jawan of 45th Cavalry in Punjab's Gurdaspur.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony had told parliament in August that the Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) has undertaken a study on the factors causing distress among young army officers.

He had said that recommendations to minimise stress levels were expected to come by the end of the year.

Army officials maintained that incidents of clash between officers and jawans were "aberrations" and did not indicate declining discipline and leadership standards.

They said that commanders have been instructed to have zero tolerance towards such cases.

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