Congress leader A.K. Antony on Tuesday said that in his eight years as Defence Minister during the UPA regime just one incident of mutilation of Indian soldiers’ bodies had taken place, but since the BJP-led NDA came to power in May 2014 three such incidents have taken place.
He also expressed concern over the attacks on military installations in Jammu and Kashmir.
Antony, who was Defence Minister from October 2006 to May 2014 during the two United Progressive Alliance governments, told reporters:
“During my time, eight years, once this kind of incident took place. Now three times. I do not want to go into details.”
Antony said Monday’s incident in which the Pakistan Army killed an Indian soldier and a BSF trooper and mutilated their bodies near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir has hit the morale of the people and the Army.
Pakistan has denied the charge of violating the ceasefire and of mutilating the bodies of Indian soldiers.
“It (the incident) has affected the morale of Indian people, Indian Army and also the continuous attacks on military installations has put a question mark about the security structure on the border. More than anything, it has affected the prestige, respect and morale of the Indian Army,” Antony said.
He termed the act as cowardly and inhuman and asked the government to give a free hand to the Army to seek retribution.
“My only request to the government is to give freedom to the Army to take appropriate action at an appropriate time as a reaction to this cowardly, inhuman, barbaric action by the Pakistan (army),” Antony said.
During Antony’s term as Defence Minister, on January 8, 2013, Pakistani soldiers entered Indian territory in Krishna Ghati sector of the border and killed two Indian soldiers — Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh. The bodies of both were mutilated.
In November last year, three soldiers were killed, and one of them was beheaded, in Jammu and Kashmir on the Line of Control — in action that the army said bore the “signature” of the Pakistan Army’s Border Action Team. Pakistan had denied the allegations.
In October last year, the body of 27-year-old Indian soldier was mutilated by terrorists, who fled back to the Pakistan-occupied part of Kashmir under cover fire by Pakistani troops.