Vigil beefed up along LoC: Antony

NEW DELHI, Feb 27:
Vigil along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir has been stepped up following last month’s ambush by Pakistani Army on Indian troops in which two jawans were killed, Government told the Rajya Sabha today.
“On January 8, a Pak Border Action Team ambushed our patrol party in Krishna Ghati, Mendhar Sector in which Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh and Lance Naik Hemraj were killed. Lance Naik Hemraj was found beheaded and both bodies were mutilated,” Defence Minister A K Antony said.
In a written reply, he said that the weapons of the two jawans were also taken by Pakistani Army.
On whether Government has taken up the issue with their Pakistani counterpart, Antony said a Brigade-level Flag Meeting of both the sides was held on January 14.
“The issue was protested through the DGMO talks on January 9 and 16, Brigade Commander-level Flag Meeting at Chakan Da Bagh on January 14 and hotline messages at the local levels,” he said.
The issue was also taken up with Pakistan through diplomatic channels.
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai had summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir on January 9 and lodged a strong protest on the actions of the Pakistan Army.
He also conveyed that barbaric acts of mutilation of the bodies of our soldiers is unacceptable and against the ethos of soldiering, Antony said.
On efforts taken made by India to ensure that such incidents do not happen in future, he said, “Heightened vigil is being maintained along the Line of Control in J&K and surveillance, including human intelligence and technical intelligence, has been further enhanced.”
To another question, Antony said that 93 ceasefire violations have been reported along the LoC by Pakistan in year 2012.
Asked till when India will continue ceasefire and have trust in Pakistan, Antony said, “Government takes all necessary measures to uphold the sanctity of LoC. All confidence building measures are taken. The Army retaliates firmly and appropriately to all such ceasefire violations.”
He also informed the Upper House that, “There has been 14 ceasefire violations by Pakistan Army since the Brigade Commander-level Flag Meeting on January 14. Pakistan fired small arms, medium and heavy automatic weapons and 82 mm mortars during these ceasefire violations.”
The ceasefire between India and Pakistan along the LoC and International Border in J&K which came into effect on November 25-26, 2003 has been violated by Pakistan from time to time, he said.
Meanwhile, Government has no plan to withdraw the Army from Jammu and Kashmir as security forces are deployed according to the overall security situation, Rajya Sabha was informed today.
“No, sir. There is no move to withdraw the Army from Jammu and Kashmir,” Minister of State for Home R P N Singh said, replying to a question on whether Government was contemplating to withdraw the Army from the border State.
The Minister said the deployment of security forces at any point of time is a matter of review of the threat perception at the highest operational levels in the Central and State Governments.
Singh said the quantum of security forces and its deployment would vary according to the overall security situation.
“The Government of India is always open to talk to all groups of different shades of opinion, including the separatists who eschew the path of violence,” he said.
The Government also said any decision on amending the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act will be taken only after taking into consideration the ground reality where it is in force and no time frame can be given on the issue of changing the controversial legislation.
Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran said the issue of repealing/amending AFSPA has been under consideration of the Government and Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee and the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) have also made certain recommendations on the subject.
“Now the Group of Ministers has to take a final decision on the ARC recommendation. On direction of the GoM, comments of the State Governments concerned on the ARC recommendation have been called for.
“On such security-related issued, all factors, including the ground reality are taken into consideration before taking a decision and hence no time limit can be specified,” Ramachandran told Rajya Sabha.
Several groups and political parties in Jammu and Kashmir and north eastern region have been demanding either repeal or amendment to AFSPA which has been in force in some of the disturbed regions in the country. (PTI)

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