Leh: Tension gripped an army regiment in Leh after a group of officers and soldiers clashed following an incident of alleged molestation involving an orderly and the reported capturing of the armoury by the agitated soldiers.
The trigger for the clash took place late Thursday afternoon in Nyoma sub-district, located 150 km from Leh, when a soldier allegedly misbehaved with the wife of a Major who beat him up, official sources said.
The officers and soldiers of 226 Field Regiment were undergoing firing practice at this place.
The Major did not permit other jawans to allow any medical treatment for the orderly fuelling anger among the colleagues who objected, the sources said.
The news reached the Commanding Officer of the regiment who was camping in nearby police guest house. He immediately reached the scene and gauging the mood shouted at the Major for his reluctance to allow the injured orderly being taken for treatment.
Seeing this, the Major along with five of his officer colleagues beat the Commanding Officer, a Colonel, in front of the soldiers. This angered the soldiers who then went berserk and beat the other officers with sticks, the sources said.
The Commanding Officer was immediately shifted to Leh hospital.
Nearly 40 to 50 soldiers then started a search for Major rank officers. Two were found in nearby camp and were beaten up, the sources said, adding they were rescued after an intervention by the local police.
Three Majors were still hiding and are believed to have moved towards Chashool army camp located on Sino-India border, the sources said.
The 226-Field Regiment Unit has been cordoned and senior officers of Leh-based 14 Corps have rushed to the scene, they said.
Tempers cooled down on Friday afternoon when General Officer-in-Command of Third Infantry division assured the soldiers, who had captured the armoury, that action will be taken against the erring officers, the sources said.
The sources said though the soldiers had armoury under their control, no withdrawal of weapons has been resorted to.
Superintendent of police, Leh, Vivek Gupta was camping in Nyoma along with heavy reinforcements following a report by the sub-divisional magistrate that army troopers, armed with sticks and knives, were holding protest, the sources said.
Commenting on the situation, the Army Headquarters in Delhi said "due to some administrative reasons, there was a scuffle in an artillery unit during field firing.
"The incident is under investigation and necessary action will be taken."