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India lodges strong protest over beheading of its soldier

India lodges strong protest over beheading of its soldier Jammu, Jan. 14 : India on Monday strongly protested the beheading of its soldier in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on January 8, and asked Islamabad to respect the ceasefire agreement.

The latest developments in this regard took place during a Commanders-level flag meeting between Indian and Pakistan.

The Indian delegation led by 10 ''Krishnaghati'' Brigade commander Brigadier T. S. Sandhu criticized the barbaric act of mutilation of the soldier along the Line of Control (LoC) during the meeting, which took place at Chakan da Bagh on the LoC in Poonch district.

Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, earlier today said Pakistan had pre-planned the whole operation, and added that the beheading and the mutilation of the Indian jawans was against all rules of engagement, gruesome and unpardonable.

Conveying his condolences to the families of the two Indian jawans killed by Pakistani troops, General Singh said Pakistani action is against the ethics and principle of soldiering.

"My heart especially goes out today to the families of two soldiers who were killed on the 8th (January 8), who were mutilated after the operation on the 8th. It was a gruesome act, most unpardonable act. We have launched a very strong protest in this regard through the government, through the Director General of Military Operation (DGMO) and this is being taken up today," General Singh told the media here.

"Alongside, this act it defies all logic, it is against the very principles and rules of engagement. It is against the very ethics of soldiering and professionalism. And therefore, in very strong terms we have taken up this case with the Government of Pakistan through our government. The DGMOs have conveyed this in the talk," he added.

Asserting that India has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan, the Army Chief said ''''we are holding a commanders'''' flag meeting today at 1 p. m. and this will be conveyed again''''.

"And this afternoon, we have the flag meeting. This again is put across, protest being launched in a very strong manner today," he said.

General Singh rubbished Pakistan''''s claims, and said the Indian Army did not carry out any operation on January 6 as claimed by the other side.

"No operation has been undertaken by the Indian Army on the 6th (January 6) as alleged by the Pakistan Army. No operation was carried out by Indian Army on the 6th," he said.

The Army Chief further talked tough, saying the Indian Army reserves the right to retaliate when it is provoked.

"We will uphold the ceasefire as long as it is maintained. We reserve the right to retaliate at the time and place of our choosing. I expect my commanders on the LoC to be aggressive; they must understand that the Army hierarchy is behind them," he said.

General Singh said the government is trying diplomatically to bring back Lance Naik Hemraj''''s head.

Two Indian jawans Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh were killed by infiltrating Pakistani soldiers in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on January 8.

Their bodies were found mutilated, sparking a diplomatic face-off between India and Pakistan and tension along the Line of Control that separates the two countries.

Pakistan has denied India's claim that its troops crossed the Line of Control to ambush a patrol party in the Mendhar sector in Poonch district. (ANI)