ibnlive » India

Jun 20, 2007 at 11:23am IST

Army awards death to killer jawan

New Delhi: The Army has given the death sentence to a soldier for 'fragging' after he killed his superior.

Sepoy Satyam Kumar was sentenced to death by a summary General Court Martial for killing his superior Havildar Padmarajan in 2006.

Satyam Kumar is a sepoy in the Northern Command Signals unit who had pumped 20 bullets into Padmarajan after a minor argument.

The punishment has to be confirmed by the Union government on the recommendation of Army headquarters.

The Court Marshal passed the sentence after a 15-day trial in Udhampur. This is the second death sentence given to a soldier in less than three months.

Sepoy SC Behera was also given death on February 26 for killing his superior Lt Col S Saxena in 2006.

As many as 24 officers and soldiers were killed in 17 incidents of fragging last year.

The two sentences indicate the direction the Army Headquarters is taking in dealing with cases of ‘fragging’ — a term used for murder of a superior by a soldier. The Army officially uses the term "fratricide" to describe such incidents.

This is not the first case of ‘fragging’ in the Army. A steep rise in such cases had led experts to believe that the forces are suffering from a severe leadership failure.

Many also say that cases of ‘fragging’ are seen as a failure of command at the formation level of the Army.

A summary general court martial is conducted in a “field area” and must comprise at least three officers.

A general court martial requires five officers and is held in a peace station.

PM in aid of jawans

In the backdrop of the alarming spiral in stress-related deaths in the Army, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday proposed a mechanism to address the grievances of soldiers and their families as well as ex-servicemen in an effective manner.

This is in tune with studies which show that soldiers posted in far-flung areas, apart from the stress of counter-insurgency operations and other hardships, also face tremendous mental strain for not being able to take care of the problems facing their families back home.

An unresponsive civil administration, relentless counter-terrorism operations, poor salaries, lack of proper accommodation and the like, all combine together to take a toll on the mental health of soldiers.

"As soldiers are posted far away from their home, it's difficult for them to attend to the needs of their families, and to deal with property-related matters and other personal issues," said the PM, addressing the 27th meeting of the Kendriya Sainik Board.

"To assist them, we need a mechanism by which, at the district level, the collector, and at the state level, a nominated senior officer, can every quarter review the status of grievance redressals," Singh added.

Army jawan gets death for fragging