Shillong, Dec 10 (UNI) The Army has initiated disciplinary action against six jawans of the Assam Regiment for bailing out three arrested people, suspected to be Manipur-based People's Liberation Army (PLA) militants, even as one of the jawans deserted the regiment, an army official said today.
Last month six jawans -- Havildar Panchabir Rai, Havildar Amuthoi Singh, Sepoy Rajendra Magar, Sepoy Bijen Singh, Sepoy Tuingam and Sepoy Kennedy -- had gone to bail out the three militants without prior permission from their higher-ups in the regiment, Commandant of Assam Regiment Colonel S N Rai told UNI here.
Meghalaya police had arrested three PLA militants - Jhokchan Ratan Singh, Sushil Ningthoujam and Alam Naba Chandra Singh - on October 14 from a hotel here, while they were planning to exfiltrate to Bangladesh through the international border at Dawki in Jaintia Hills district.
Of the six jawans, five of them had approached the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate to withdraw their earlier bail application in which the same court had granted bail to the three arrested militants.
However, Sepoy Kennedy, who had reportedly taken the initiative to bail out the three arrested militants had deserted from Assam regiment base-camp at Happy Valley here.
Colonel Rai said all the jawans are facing charges of ''willful disobedience of lawful command'' and ''acts prejudicial to good order and discipline'' under various provisions of the Army Act.
''We have initiated disciplinary actions against the five jawans and are still trying to find Kennedy, who had deserted the regiment centre,'' Colonel Rai said.
Sepoy Kennedy of Lamsang village in West Imphal district, Manipur deserted the camp after bailing out the militants. Earlier, the five jawans had alleged that Sepoy Kennedy had misled them to bail out the three arrested militants.
''He (Sepoy Kennedy) told us a different story about them (arrested militants),'' one of the sepoys had said.