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Army revisits ‘Ketchup Col’ case this week
Tue Jul 6 23:32:19 2010
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 rainasharma image By Rainasharma
Member since:Jul 6, 2010 22:31:45

HYDERABAD: Later this week, Armed Forces Tribunal will review an unusual case: that of a colonel involved in counterinsurgency operations in south Assam in 2003, who refused instruction from his boss to kill five militants whom his regiment had arrested.

The militants were handed over to police by the colonel so that the due process of law could take over. But the bosses would not relent: the colonel was ordered to stage a false encounter and take pictures of five men lying on the ground — as if they were dead.

All this because the ‘kill’ had already been reported to higher authorities. Under pressure, the colonel reluctantly assented.

But at the end of it — after an anonymous complaint and a court of inquiry — the colonel was court-martialled and sacked for staging an ‘‘encounter’’ that never took place. The epithet of ‘‘ketchup colonel’’ given to him by the press alluding to the tomato ketchup that was used to spray the ‘bodies’ whose pictures were taken. A major who had organized the actual photoshoot was also sacked.

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