A day after an Indian soldier’s body was mutilated by terrorists who escaped back into Pakistani side under covering fire from Pakistani troops, the Indian army said on Saturday it had hit back, destroying four Pakistani posts and inflicting “heavy casualties”.
The posts were destroyed in a massive fire assault in Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara, said the army’s Northern Command.
“Heavy casualties were inflicted on the other side,” it said.
Sepoy Mandeep Singh, who was killed in the gunfight with the infiltrators on Friday, was beheaded by the terrorists who fled back to Pakistan-administered Kashmir under covering fire from Pakistan Army.
The Indian Army had said an “appropriate response” will be given.
The barbaric incident sparked an outrage even as a pall of gloom descended on Mandeep Singh’s native village in Haryana.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh condemned the mutilation of the soldier’s body as “atrocious” while senior Congress leader Manish Tewari called it “depraved behaviour”.
The jawan’s family members demanded that Pakistan be taught a lesson for harbouring terrorists while former Army officers expressed their sadness. His brother Sandeep Singh demanded that the family wanted 10 Pakistani heads for the price of one.
The family members of the 30-year-old soldier were inconsolable. Several women from Aantehri village in Kurukshetra reached the soldier’s house and tried to console Mandeep’s widow. The couple had got married two years ago, family members said. Mandeep’s widow Prerna is a Head Constable with Haryana police and posted at Shahbad Markanda in Kurukshetra.
Mandeep’s father said the Indian army should give a befitting reply to Pakistan. “It was his duty, he has done it. He sacrificed his life. We should give a befitting reply to Pakistan,” he said, adding that he got the news of his son’s death when army personnel visited him at his home at 1am.
Prerna said Pakistan must be taught a lesson for harbouring terrorists.
“Pakistan should be taught a lesson once for all so that no other family of a soldier has to go through such pain,” she said breaking down several times.
She said that Mandeep had come for vacation six months back. “He was supposed to visit home again on Diwali but his leave was cancelled in view of the tension on the border at Machil sector.”
Kurukshetra’s Deputy Commissioner Sumedha Kataria also visited the jawan’s home and offered her condolences.
Mandeep’s neighbours described him as a “go-getter” who always had a smile on his face.
Subhash, husband of the Sarpanch of the village, said Mandeep was a helpful person who always offered help to anyone who approached him in need.
“There can’t be anything more atrocious than this (on terrorists mutilated the body of a soldier),” Jitendra Singh told reporters in Jammu.
“I am always of the view that the human rights of soldiers should enjoy precedence over human rights of anybody else”, he said.
“These are acts of cowardice and these are happening at the time of desperation of the part of the Pakistan army as well as Islamabad. Indian forces are capable of standing up to this challenge.”
Tewari while condemning the mutilation as “absolutely depraved behaviour” said it “violates you as a human being”.
“There are certain rules of engagement and conduct even in a conflict situation. Pakistan is expected to respect the rules of engagement,” he said.
“I am very sad being a soldier. It is a very sad mentality to take your anger on an injured or dead person,” said Maj Gen (retd) BC Khanduri.
This is not the first time Pakistan has mutilated the bodies of Indian soldiers.
During the Kargil war in 1999, Captain Saurabh Kalia, Sepoys Arjunram Baswana, Mula Ram Bidiasar, Naresh Singh Sinsinwar, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria and Bhika Ram Mudh of 4 Jat Regiment were captured by Pakistani troops and brutally tortured.
The soldiers had their ear drums pierced with hot iron rods, eyes punctured and genitals cut off. The autopsy of the bodies also revealed that they were burned with cigarettes butts. Their limbs were also chopped off, teeth broken and skull fractured during the torture. Even their nose and lips were sliced off.
In another incident, on 8 January, 2013, Pakistani soldiers entered Indian territory in Krishna Ghati sector of the border and killed two Indian soldiers – Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh. Indian officials said both the bodies were mutilated, and Hemraj’s body was decapitated.
Just before retiring, former army chief General Bikram Singh, who headed the Indian Army when the incident happened, had said India gave a “befitting reply”.
General Dalbir Singh, just after taking over as the Army chief, had then said if a similar incident occurred the Indian Army’s response “will be more than adequate in future”.
Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention protects captured military personnel, some guerrilla fighters, and certain civilians. It applies from the moment a prisoner is captured until he or she is released or repatriated. One of the main provisions of the convention makes it illegal to torture prisoners and states that a prisoner can only be required to give his name, date of birth, rank and service number if applicable.
With inputs from agencies
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