168 Armymen face action for Nyoma clash

In one of the largest ever actions against an Army unit, as many as 168 personnel of a Ladakh-based artillery unit that saw intense clashes between officers and jawans in May last year face disciplinary action and court-martial proceedings.

After an inquiry process that lasted almost an year, strict action has been recommended against one-third of the personnel of the 226 Field Regiment, including the commanding officer, three other officers and 17 junior commissioned officers (JCOs), who were reportedly involved in the clash in Nyoma while the unit was on field firing training.

The CO, who will also face court-martial proceedings, was injured in the fracas in which several dozen soldiers thrashed officers after one of them beat up a colleague. The clash had raised serious questions on officer-soldier relations, with fingers being pointed to a failure of command and control by the officers commanding the unit.

While court-martial proceedings against all the personnel will now commence, it is still not clear what will be the extent of the punishment for the accused. Sources said the action could range from cashiering from service to dismissal as well rigorous prison terms for the personnel.

A marathon inquiry into the incident was completed by Brigadier Ajay Talwar in December and the findings have now been confirmed by the Leh-based 14 Corps headquarters. As many as 220 witnesses were examined during the inquiry, including officers, other ranks as well as civilians who witnessed the clash.

As reported earlier, the incident took place in May last year when the 226 Field Regiment was camped at the Mahi firing range for practice. While the firing practice was in progress, the regiment barber, identified as Suman Ghosh, allegedly entered one of the Major's tents. On seeing the officer's wife in the tent, Ghosh is said to have run out in alarm. However, the wife allegedly created a furore.

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