Report By: Nina Rai
Delhi, Jan. 09, 2013
In one of the most inhuman and barbaric acts perpetuated in recent times, Pakistani troops brazenly breached the Line of Control (LoC) infiltrating deep into Indian Territory in the Mendhar sector of Poonch in J&K State, beheading and badly mutilating one Indian soldier and killing another Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.
Reportedly, the Pakistan army’s "border action team," taking advantage of the dense fog in the thickly forested hilly terrain, snuck nearly 600 meters across the LoC. A fierce gunbattle and even close-quarter combat ensued with the Indian troops, lasting for more than 30 minutes late Tuesday morning before the intruders were driven back into their territory.
Apparently the Indian Intelligence had tipped off the army, so they were alert enough to ward off the Pakistani threat with adequate firepower. After the fierce gunbattle, the bodies of Indian soldiers Lance-Naiks Hemraj and Sudhakar Singh, part of an "area domination patrol" of the 13 Rajputana Rifles, were discovered. One of the bodies was “badly mutilated."
Reuters reported on the Tuesday incident, quoting Rajesh K. Kalia, spokesman for the Indian army's Northern Command stated the body of one of the Indian soldiers was found "badly mutilated" in a forested area of the Himalayan territory on the side controlled by India.
An outraged Indian Army termed the crime "yet another grave provocation" by the Pakistani Army, affirming that the incident would be "taken up sternly through official channels." It later issued a press release on the incident. The Army, however, refrained from giving the gory details of the barbarism.
Sky News, quoting India’s chief military spokesman J Dahiya said: "We can confirm that one of the Indian soldiers was beheaded by the Pakistani army in Kashmir. … They have taken away the head." Even the Times of India, quoting sources, said the retreating Pakistani soldiers had chopped off the "head" of one of the Indian soldiers and taken it back with them.
The defense ministry condemned the act in a statement and urged Islamabad to honor and strictly abide by the terms of the cease-fire agreement which came into force in November 2003. Defense Minister AK. Antony told the media: "Pakistan Army's action is highly provocative. The way they treated the dead bodies of Indian soldiers is inhuman. We will convey our protest to Pakistan government and our DGMO will talk to his counterpart. We are closely following the situation."
Accordingly, early this morning India summoned the Pakistani High Commissioner in Delhi to lodge a strong protest over yesterday's attack in Kashmir. NDTV news quoting Foreign Minister said that at today's meeting, Pakistani envoy Salman Bashir was told that the attack is "unacceptable." India has also asked Pakistan to investigate the "barbaric and inhuman mutilation" of the dead soldiers.
Not surprisingly, the Pakistani military has denied that its troops were responsible for yesterday's attack. "Indian authorities were informed that Pakistan has carried out ground verification and checked and found nothing of this sort happened as being alleged by India," a Pakistani military official told reporters.
Indian military spokesman Dahiya, however, accused the Pakistanis of being "in a state of denial." He said: "We are absolutely convinced Pakistan army regulars were involved because it was a surgical strike with high-caliber weapons."
Meanwhile, according to the Pakistani army the outrage from the other side of the border is Indian propaganda to deflect world attention from the “raid conducted by Indian troops” on one of their posts Sunday, in which one of their soldiers was killed.
India had rejected this claim and contended that it was actually the Pakistani soldiers who first opened "unprovoked heavy machine gun and mortar fire on Indian post in the Uri sector." Indian troops had merely responded to it "in a calibrated manner." The External affairs ministry, meanwhile, has also urged Pakistan to ensure and maintain the "sanctity of the LoC.”
The Pakistani army’s rejection of the Indian contention is predictable and along expected lines. The government and military there has actually perfected denying and being in denial mode into a fine art. But how can anyone ever forget how the entire motley bunch there pretended amnesia and said they were not aware of al-Qaida chief Osama bin-Laden (responsible for the killing of 3,000 Americans) staying in their land for close to five years?
What about Ajmal Kasab, one of the main terrorists involved in the deadly Nov. 26, 2008, terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which killed 164 people and maimed hundreds. For a long time, Pakistan refused to even accept he was a Pakistani. Later, after making public proclamations of bringing the culprits to book, officials still haven’t even kick-started the trial, forget about bringing it to its conclusion. It is no wonder by now even the world at large takes what they say with a heavy pinch of salt.
Coming to the latest incident, how do they explain away the mutilated and headless body of the Indian soldier, are they implying the Indian army would do that just to score points? When will the army there take responsibility for the deviant cadres within their midst and bring them to book, instead of covering up for them and utilizing the deviants as and when it suits them, like in this instance.
It is a known fact that the Pakistani army itself is providing cover to militants from various jihadist groups to infiltrate into India. The same as they are doing with militants on the Afghan side of the border. This time around it appears the Pakistani army has used the hardcore extremist elements in their army to take revenge against Indians for what happened Sunday, in which they lost their soldier in the crossfire over cease-fire violations.
The incursions into the Indian side and cease-fire violations by the Pakistani army are diversionary maneuvers to push infiltrators into J & K, as has been the usual tactic of the Pakistani army. Their only long-term goal is to annex the territory of Kashmir, which is indisputably an integral part of the Indian State and will always be so in the eyes of all Indians.
Indian army states that of late there had been "significant escalation" in cease-fire violations by the Pakistan army. TOI, quoting one Indian army official, said: "Pakistan Army is regularly giving covering fire to help terrorists infiltrate into J & K, especially in the Rajouri, Uri and Keran sectors. If there were 61 such violations in 2011, as many as 120 have been recorded in the last one year."
The brutal nature of the attack is a chilling reminder of the attack on Captain Saurabh Kalia and his team by Pakistani troops in Kaksar sector of Kargil during the 1999 conflict. Capt. Kalia was captured and brutally tortured by his Pakistani captor. His eyes were gorged out and unbelievable torture inflicted on him for 22 days.
Later, his badly mutilated body was handed over to India by an absolutely unapologetic and unrepentant Pakistani army. All right-thinking Indians and Kalia's father are still fighting to get justice for the martyred soldier. Even the defeat in the Kargil war has not chastened the Pakistani security establishment to mend its ways and stop violating the Geneva Convention, which clearly lays down how captured soldiers should be treated.
The latest decapitation and mutilation of the Indian soldier on Tuesday has deeply anguished Indians, and undoubtedly there is widespread anger all over. The opposition BJP party is demanding naming and shaming Pakistan in the international fora for this bestial act. For most of us it’s a grim reminder of the brutality perpetrated during the Kargil conflict.
This latest incident, we Indians think, is the limit to our patience. It is making all peace talks between the two countries absolutely meaningless. In-fact, this barbaric episode has the potential to jeopardize the Indo-Pak peace process, which is exactly what the detractors, militants and jihadists want.
Besides, if Pakistan seriously wants to be considered a civilized nation, then it is up to them to ensure that the perpetuators of this heinous crime are brought book immediately and steps taken to ensure that this kind of barbarism is not repeated in future.
* Other links given in the article
Do check a related report:
Indian soldier’s beheading: BJP’s Sushma Swaraj demands 10 Pakistani heads in return
Also check other crime related news: