The Ministry of Defence at South Block in New Delhi | Commons
The Ministry of Defence at South Block in New Delhi | Commons
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Ministry is probing how a local-level brawl escalated into a war of institutions, after IAS body demanded action against Indian Army personnel.

New Delhi: Defence Ministry sources have said both the police and Indian Army jawans were at fault in the brawl at Arunachal Pradesh’s Bomdila last Friday, which reportedly led to the vandalisation of a police station and a local PWD office in the West Kameng district.

“It is also being studied that how a brawl at a local level escalated into a major civil-military tussle, and the institutions were dragged into this,” a ministry source said, adding that the full picture will emerge only after a thorough inquiry into the incident.

The IAS association had written to the Ministry of Defence, urging it to take action against the Indian Army officers guilty of the violence.

Bomdila is particularly resonant with the Indian Army. It was here in 1962 that poorly-armed soldiers put up a last ditch battle against the Chinese.


Also read: IAS body wants defence ministry to take action against Army for Arunachal ‘assault’


What happened that night

Two allegedly inebriated jawans from the 2nd Arunachal Scouts regiment of the Indian Army reportedly clashed with the local police and were picked up after they misbehaved with locals. Army sources said the jawans were beaten up in the lock-up Friday night, and are getting treated at a military hospital.

A day later, more than 100 personnel of the regiment allegedly ransacked a local police station and a PWD office. The local district magistrate was also allegedly attacked, while a video of commanding officer Col. Firdosh P. Dubash — where he was seen threatening the police of consequences if the boys of his unit were touched — went viral.

Col. Firdosh received huge praise from the rank and file of the armed forces, who said he behaved in a way befitting a leader.


Also read: Arunachal Pradesh is Indian Army’s tallest ally, don’t take its people for granted


Ministerial intervention

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju also visited Bomdila to get a first-hand account of the incident, a rare instance.

Subsequently, in a tweet, Rijiju, also the Lok Sabha MP for the region, said that due to indecorous acts at individual level, a reprehensible incident took place, but whole institutions can’t be dragged into it.

“My constituency people are peace loving. But some outside elements are making hateful comments in social media without any factual knowledge,” he wrote.

Arunachal Scouts is an offshoot of the Assam regiment — which is one of the most diverse regiments of the Indian Army — and comprises of mainly locals.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the correct name of the commanding officer as Col. Firdosh P. Dubash. The error is regretted.

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6 Comments Share Your Views

6 COMMENTS

  1. This sharing of blame is the version of of MoD which is constituted by babus of all hues and not that of men in uniform at the functional level. In this case it is not difficult to identify the trigger and that was the manhandling of “sons of soil” Arunanchal Scout boys while taking them into illegal custody by police and violating the provisions of AA. Then the civil administration missing the opportunity to manage the situation by joining hands with police also shows immaturety in containing the situation. This episode clearly exemplifies the harm done by generalistic cadre of bureaucrats to not only the Armed Forces but all specialist institutions in the country, the nuances of working of which they fail to fathom. It further highlight the deficiency of self gratifying bureaucracy which has managed to become unreasonably powerful at very less service by forming unions and getting benefits for themselves by pitching against visibility of ranks of Armed Forces. The issue also highlight the wrong grooming of the babus where in they mistake “Aid to Civil Authorities” on their own failure in certain situations as direct control over Armed Forces. The equation need not be balanced in this case and leadership should call spade a spade.

  2. I saw the video. The colonel is talking like a goon, in a matter ill befitting a soldier. No provocation from the police officer who is speaking respectfully. The colonel openly says he is issuing a threat to the police if they take action against his men. Besides the fact that threatening a police officer from discharging his duty is a criminal offense, the colonel sets a very poor example to his men. Indians respect and love their army but that doesn’t mean they will condone the abuse of local women wherever the army is deployed. Sadly this seems to happen too often especially in the Northeast and in Kashmir.

    • The police was to have arrested the jawans if they have misbehaved, called up the military police and handed them over. This is what the law says. Instead they decided to manhandle the jawans and beat them which is not permitted even with a arrested thief. When the police behave like goons then they require to be treated like one. The video is one-sided. The entire video will not be aired. Army doesn’t tolerate indiscipline and takes action immediately. The famous adrash scam is an example. The politicians and bureaucrats involved are still serving while army has completed enquiry long back and send people home. If you don’t believe in your Army disband it and hand over everything to your able police.

  3. How can an army jawan or for that matter any civilian be beaten up by police inside lock up? If any minister or Government official can answer this question, I think the matter is settled. Otherwise the police is to be blamed. Let not ministers deputed to douse the issue try and find diplomatic way out of the situation.If it’s not nixed this time, I am sure it will again occur sooner than later.

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