Need to put pressure on Pakistan to return head: Army chief

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 14, 2013 11:50 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) Pakistan was in "denial mode" over the killings of Lance Naiks Hemraj and Sudhakar Singh and pressure needs to be exerted so they return the severed head of the former, Indian Army chief Gen Bikram Singh said Monday.

Stressing that accountability had to be established, he said there was need to make Pakistan accountable through diplomatic and other channels for its action of killing the two soldiers Jan 8 and mutilating their bodies.

Addressing a press conference here on the eve of Army Day, he said in response to a question on the return of Lance Naik Hemraj's head that it had to be taken up at the government level.

"This has to be done through diplomatic levels," he said at a press conference ahead of Army Day. Concern had also been conveyed at the level of the Director General Military Operations (DGMO). "Let's see if they heed our protest," he added.

The army chief said he would go to the house of martyred soldier Hemraj if his family so desired and and the return of his severed head had to be taken up at the government and diplomatic levels.

"I will go. They are my people...I shall be there," Bikram Singh said.

Lance Naik Hemraj's wife has been fasting in her village near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, demanding that the severed head of her husband be handed over to the family.

"We are with her and we understand. I am the head of the clan and I am like a father. We will make sure they are given all possible help. We will give them all that is due and everything they are entitled to," Bikram Singh said.

There have been remarks from Hemraj's family that they would not end their protest till the army chief visits their house and assures them that the severed head will be brought back.

Border tensions between India and Pakistan have risen sharply since the Jan 6 death of a Pakistani soldier in alleged firing by Indian forces along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

Two days later, on Jan 8 Pakistani soldiers killed and mutilated the two Indian soldiers in the Mendhar sector in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Gen. Singh said that 91 army personnel of different ranks who had made the supreme sacrifice since the last Army Day.

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