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Sufficient proof of Pakistan army’s involvement in mutilation of soldiers: India

Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit and conveyed India’s outrage over the “barbaric act” on May 1.

india Updated: May 28, 2017 10:46 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
People holding the national flag take out a candlelight vigil  in Hyderabad on May 2 after the death of two Indian soldiers in Kashmir. The Indian Army has accused Pakistan of killing the soldiers and mutilating their bodies in an
People holding the national flag take out a candlelight vigil in Hyderabad on May 2 after the death of two Indian soldiers in Kashmir. The Indian Army has accused Pakistan of killing the soldiers and mutilating their bodies in an "unprovoked" rocket and mortar attack in the tense border region.(AFP)

India told Pakistan’s envoy on Wednesday there is “sufficient evidence”, including a blood trail leading across the Line of Control, to prove Pakistani troops entered the Indian side, beheaded two soldiers and went back.

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit at noon and informed him during a brief meeting of India’s “outrage at the killing and barbaric act of mutilation of the bodies of the two soldiers…by Pakistan Army personnel”, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.

The killing and mutilation of the two soldiers on Monday sparked widespread anger, with their families and many political leaders demanding similar action against the neighbouring country.

The message from Jaishankar to the Pakistani envoy was blunt - the Indian government considers the mutilation “a strong act of provocation and in contravention to all norms of civilised conduct”, and wants “immediate action” against the Pakistani soldiers and commanders responsible for the act.

Basit denied the Pakistan Army “was involved in any way” but said he would convey the contents of India’s demarche to his government, Baglay told a news briefing.

Baglay said Monday’s attack was preceded by covering fire from Pakistani posts in Battal sector. “Blood samples of the Indian soldiers that have been collected and the trail of blood on the Roza Nala line clearly show that the killers returned across the Line of Control,” he said.

India has “sufficient evidence that this act was committed by personnel of the Pakistan Army who crossed the Line of Control in Krishna Ghati sector,” he added.

Sources said the trail of blood leading across the LoC was from the severed heads of the Indian soldiers.

India, Baglay said, had been a victim of cross-border terrorism for four decades and its efforts and policy to counter this menace had received backing across the world. “It is an unfortunate reality that cross-border terrorism continues to pose a grave threat to peace and stability in our region as well as threaten the security of neighbours of the country which is perpetuating it,” he said.

On Monday, a border action team (BAT) of the Pakistan Army sneaked across the LoC and ambushed a joint patrol of the Border Security Force and the army, killing naib subedar Paramjit Singh, a 42-year-old junior commissioned officer with the 22 Sikh Regiment, and 45-year-old head constable Prem Sagar of the BSF’s 200 Battalion.

Their beheaded bodies were found in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district.

Lt Gen AK Bhatt, the Indian director general of military operations, told his Pakistani counterpart on Tuesday that the “dastardly and inhuman act” was beyond any norms of civility and deserved unequivocal condemnation and response.

But a statement from the Pakistan Army said: “Pakistan rejected Indian allegations of ceasefire violation and mutilation of bodies of Indian soldiers.”

Pakistan DGMO Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza told Bhatt the allegations were an attempt by India to divert attention from the unrest in the Kashmir Valley, the statement said.

The Pakistan Army’s elite Special Services Group forms the core of the BATs, which are used for raids across the LoC. Terrorists too are known to join the soldiers during some “missions”.

These units were responsible for Indian soldier Hemraj’s beheading and the cold-blooded murder of five other soldiers in separate cross-border assaults in 2013.