India Hits Back at Pakistan Over 'Beheading Soldiers' Claim

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 1, 2013 10:04 PM EST

India on Friday has hit back at Pakistan over its accusation that Indian troops had beheaded several of its soldiers in the past.

Reacting to media reports that Pakistan has accused Indian soldiers of beheading its troops, Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Friday said the allegation is "totally baseless".

According to The Hindu published, Pakistan had complained to the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), claiming that Indian soldiers tortured and decapitated at least 12 Pakistani soldiers in cross-border attacks since 1998.

The report came amid severed relation between the countries after two Indian soldiers - Lance Naik Hemraj Singh and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh - were brutally killed in Mendhar sector of the Jammu and Kashmir state on Jan 8. Hemraj was beheaded while Sudhakar's body was mutilated.

Pakistan had denied any role in the brutal incident which almost derailed the peace talks between the two countries. A Military Intelligence (MI) report, accessed by the Times of India, dismissed Pakistan's claims saying that the ISI masterminded the killings and even rewarded ₹5 lakh to the terrorist who beheaded Indian soldier.

According to the report, ISI subedar Jabbar Khan, belonging to a unit in Pakistan-administered Tattapani, led 15 members from terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in carrying out the operation.

The report said that beheading of the Indian soldier was done by Anwar Khan, who runs a shop in Barmoch Gali in PoK. Colonel Siddiqui of ISI reportedly rewarded him ₹5 lakh for the act. Anwar Khan was also responsible for beheading an Indian Army captain in KG Brigade in the same Mendhar area in 1996.

Senior ISI officers had a meeting with terrorist commanders and several guides familiar with the topography of the area a few days before the attack, said the report.

The brutal incident almost pushed the peace talk between the India and Pakistan off track.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and the country's High Commissioner to India, Salman Bashir, had offered minister-level talks to defuse the tension. After a recent Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting, it was decided that India will not respond to Khar's offer and that talks could be held at a much lower official level.

Congress party president Sonia Gandhi had talked tough on Pakistan's talk offer saying that dialogue between the countries should be based on "accepted principles of civilised behaviour."

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