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Pakistan hushed up beheadings by Indian troops: report
Publication Date : 31-01-2013
Pakistan hushed up a pattern of killings over several years in cross-Line of Control raids by Indian troops, which included beheading of civilians and troops, Indian newspaper The Hindu reported yesterday quoting confidential UN reports.
Pakistan’s complaints to the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (Unmogip), monitoring the ceasefire in Kashmir, were kept from its civilians to avoid a popular backlash, The Hindu said.
“In classified protests to a United Nations watchdog that have never been disclosed till now, Pakistan has accused Indian soldiers of involvement in the torture and decapitation of at least 12 Pakistani soldiers in cross-Line of Control raids since 1998, as well as the massacre of 29 civilians,” according to the report.
It said the allegations, laid out in confidential Pakistani complaints to Unmogip, suggest that Indian and Pakistani troops stationed on the Line of Control remain locked in a pattern of murderous violence, despite the ceasefire both armies entered into in November 2003.
Earlier this month, bilateral relations were severely damaged after a series of LoC skirmishes, which, India says, culminated in the beheading and mutilation of two Indian soldiers—Lance-Naik Hemraj Singh and Lance-Naik Sudhakar Singh.
The ministry of defence did not respond to an email from The Hindu, seeking comment on the alleged decapitation of Pakistani civilians and troops reported to Unmogip.
However, an Indian military spokesperson said the issue had “not been raised by Pakistan in communications between the two Directors-General of Military Operations”.
The ministry of external affairs also said the Unmogip complaints had not been raised in diplomatic exchanges between the two countries.
“Ever since 9/11,” a senior Pakistan army officer told The Hindu: “We have sought to downplay these incidents, aware that a public backlash [could] push us into a situation we cannot afford on the LoC, given that much of our army is now committed to our western borders.
“Each of these incidents has been protested by us on both military and Unmogip channels.”
Unmogip, set up after the India-Pakistan war of 1947-1948 to monitor ceasefire violations, does not conduct criminal investigations, or assign responsibility for incidents.
The reports of its ceasefire monitors are sent to the organisation’s headquarters in New York, and forwarded to the ministry of defence in New Delhi.
Ever since 1972, India has responded to Unmogip queries with a standard-form letter, saying it believes the organisation has lost its relevance following the demarcation of the Line of Control.
Earlier this month, India argued in the United Nations that the organisation ought to be wound-up, The Hindu said.
The most savage cross-LoC violence Indian forces are alleged to have participated in was the killing of 22 civilians at the village of Bandala, in the Chhamb sector, on the night of March 26-27, 1998.
The bodies of two civilians, according to Pakistan’s complaint to Unmogip, were decapitated; the eyes of several others were allegedly gouged out by the attackers.