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Second beheading in two years by Pakistan

New Delhi, Jan 10, 2013, DHNS: 1:37 IST

The Army called past deaths one of many sacrifices by soldiers

The killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers in Pooch, allegedly by Pakistani troops, is not a one-off incident. In August 2011, Pakistani soldiers had perpetrated similar violence on three Indian soldiers in the Kupwara area of the Valley.

However, the Army and the defence ministry had hushed up the incident. The Army officially described the deaths as one of the many sacrifices by the soldiers to foil infiltration bids along the India-Pakistan border.

Back then, Pakistani soldiers had killed two army personnel of the 20 Kumaon regiment and one from the 19 Rajputana Rifles who were patrolling the Farkian Gali area close to the LoC in the Kupwara sector of Kashmir, security officials said. After mutilating their bodies, the Pakistani soldiers took away the heads of Havaldar Jaipal Singh Adhikari and Lance Naik Devender Singh of the 20 Kumaon regiment as war trophies.

The UPA government on Wednesday lodged a strong protest against the Pakistani troops crossing over the line of control in the Mendhar sector of Poonch recently, killing two jawans of the 13 Rajputana Rifles and decapitating one of them. Islamabad, however, charged that the Indian troops breached the fence and killed a jawan two days before the LoC skirmish. Sources said the execution of jawans appeared to be the work of specialised state actors trained in close combat, either from the special services group or the Ballooch regiment, posted on the other side of the Jammu border. They ruled out involvement of any Pakistan-based terrorist outfit, citing that they are neither trained nor courageous enough to engage soldiers in one-on-one combat. Their modus operandi is constricted to planting bombs or the shoot-and-scoot tactic. Though the soldiers usually adhere to certain rules of engagement during the clashes, the Pakistani soldiers took away the heads of the Indian army personnel to project it as the handiwork of militants, sources suggested.

Killing and beheading of soldiers is a medieval practice prevalent among the Taliban, purported to impose their might and instill fear among the people. For instance, the Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan has decapitated dissenters in the north-west region, including spies. In June last year, the Taliban captured Pakistani soldiers and beheaded them in public.

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