Pak Army hands over Indian soldier captured on day of ‘surgical strikes’


RAWALPINDI: Indian soldier Chandu Babulal Chohan, who was earlier reported captured from the Line of Control (LoC) on September 29, 2016, has returned to India, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Saturday.

A press release from the ISPR said the soldier “has been convinced to return to his own country.”

According to details, Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chauhan, an Indian soldier, left his post unattended and ventured into Pakistani territory on September 29, 2016, from occupied Kashmir. The ISPR claimed that the soldier had deserted his post due to ‘grievances of maltreatment’ against his superiors.

The soldier will be “handed over to Indian authorities at Wahga border on humanitarian grounds,” the press release said.

ISPR asserted it was a “gesture of goodwill and in continuation of Pakistan Army’s efforts to maintain peace and tranquility along the LoC and Working Boundary, Chohan has been convinced to return to his own country and will be handed over to Indian authorities at Wahga Border on humanitarian grounds.”

Further, “Pak Army returning Indian soldier Chandu Babulal Chohan to India as goodwill. He deserted to Pakistan on September 29, 2016 on grievances against his commands,” DG ISPR, Major General Asif Ghafoor said in a tweet.

As confusion ensued after the soldier’s ‘arrest’, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi, while talking to Al Jazeera, had confirmed that Pakistan Army had “captured an Indian soldier who was trying to enter” into Pakistani territory.

Lodhi, however, denied that there was any surgical strike inside the territory of Pakistan, as claimed by the Indian forces.

An Indian army official based in New Delhi had said, “It is confirmed one soldier from 37 Rashtriya Rifles with weapons has inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistan side of the Line of Control”.

Avoiding connecting the capture to the Sep 29 firing incident, he said such incidents of people including civilians crossing the frontier by mistake have happened in the past from both sides.

The officer built a case in favour of India, he added that those who strayed are returned.

“Pakistan has been informed [of the soldier’s crossing] through the DGMO on the hotline,” media had quoted Indian Army sources at the time.


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