I received the following letter on e-mail from Col SK Aggarwal, a former JAG officer and a friend since many years. I am re-producing it verbatim so that readers of this blog get an idea as to how service officers feel about this incident. (Pic courtesy Sulekha.com)
"The clash which took place in 226 Field Regiment in Laddakh is a very serious matter which is being downplayed by Army as usual. Senior Army Officers in command will never learn a lesson from history. Thank GOD it was not an Infantry Battlion equipped with arms and ammunition. Otherwise many dead bodies would have been lying in the field to be air lifted.
The Commanding Officer Col Prasad Kadam and the Bty Cdr behaved immaturely considering themselves to be above law. If Sahayak had misbehaved with his wife, he should have placed the soldier under arrest, reported to CO and subjected to trial. He had no right to collectively beat him. It is nothing but collective insubordination and the unit should be disbanded .
All those involved in the offences should be attached to other units out of 3 Inf Div and subjected to trial by Court Martial. It is a classic case of command failure up the channel. Court of Inquiry is an eye wash and will suppress the truth and only some soldiers will be tried and awarded punishment and case closed. Thereafter Army Chief and Commanders will forget the case. They have forgotten how four officers including CO Col Sahota were killed in 8 JAT in 1986 and the case of Mutiny in GR Bn involving Maj Kukrety. 45 Armoured Regt clashes case involving a number of officers and others has still not been taken to logical conclusion even after more than one year. It still at the stage of recording of Summary of Evidence.
Such incidents are taking place because Officers are arrogant and COs are behaving like dictators. When matter is brought to the notice of Senior Commanders, they take no action. With rise in education standard of soldiers and changing socio-economic conditions. officers training system needs to be modified.
Colonial thinking has no place in today's Army. Unless the Army Officers change their mind set and misuse of manpower is stopped at all levels, such incidents will continue to happen. The morale of soldiers is lowest today and discontentment level is very high. The incident of 226 Field Regiment should be taken seriously and the unit should be disbanded without any exception. It is a wake call to Chief of the Army Staff and Ministry of Defence. Case should be thoroughly investigated and all guilty be accounted for. Those found guilty after trial should be subjected to exemplary punishment. Discipline cannot be compromised. With this incident image of Army has nose dived for which GOC 3 INF DIV onwards are collectively responsible and accountable."
COL SK AGGARWAL, RETD