New Delhi: As tributes were paid to a soldier whose body was mutilated by “terrorists” in Machil sector, former Army chief General J.J. Singh (retd) said it reflected the ‘barbarism’ of the Pakistan Army, and added that India should inform the international community of the act.
The soldier, Sep Mandeep Singh, who was from Kurukshetra in Haryana, was beheaded by “terrorists” who fled back to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir under cover fire from Pakistan Army on Friday. The Indian Army in an official statement said the soldier’s body was “mutilated” and added that it would retaliate with an “appropriate response”.
Retired General Singh pointed out it was not the first time Pakistan had done something like this, and termed the act “barbaric and medieval”. “It is definitely an act of frustration. Having been hit very hard by India, this is an expression of frustration. They have done this in past as well, like during the Kargil war when they mutilated some of our soldier’s bodies,” the former Army chief said.
“Mutilating a soldier and beheading him shows they have a medieval mentality… They must be investigated by the world,” he said. The former Army chief also recalled how during interrogation of Pakistani Prisoners of War after the 1971 war, he was told by a Pakistani soldier that Indians did not know how to “beat up someone”. “I do remember when we were interrogating some prisoners of war in 1971, I had gone to one of the Prisoners of War camps and one of them told me – ‘Sir aap Hindustaniyon ko to marna bhi nahi aata hai theek se (You Indians do not know how to even beat up someone properly),” General Singh recalled.
“I did not understand as a concept of what was the meaning of that until when I was the ADGMO (Additional Director General of Military Operations) when we received the mutilated bodies of our soldiers,” he said. General Singh added that India should tell the world about Pakistan’s barbaric act. “India should tell the whole world what Pakistan is doing. Particularly with India, we honoured their fallen soldiers who they had abandoned. They should be grateful to us forever. How uncivilised they are…” he said.
Retired Colonel Anil Kaul meanwhile said it was time for India to take “firm action”, and added that it was not terrorists but the Pakistan Army that was doing it. “Let’s stop calling it a terrorist act… Pakistan army is doing it. It is time we stop just speaking and act against them. We must respond. Pakistan has the habit of back stabbing,” he said.
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 January 8, 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.