Army Chief to meet martyr's kin in Mathura

Mathura, Jan. 16 (ANI): Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, will meet the family members of Lance Naik Hemraj here on Wednesday amid demands that the severed head of the martyred soldier be brought back.

General Singh had earlier on Monday said he would visit Hemraj's home.

"I will go. They are my people. Tomorrow is Army Day, I will send my senior officer there. I will definitely go. Let this event, the Army Day, be over, I will definitely go and meet the family. If that is the demand, I shall be there," General Singh told the media in New Delhi.

General Singh, who conveyed his condolences to the families of the two jawans killed brutally, had also said that the Pakistani Army should be pressurised to return Hemraj's head.

General Singh had also warned Pakistan that India reserves the right to retaliate at the time and place of its choosing.

Hemraj's wife and mother had gone on a six-day fast demanding that the Army Chief must visit their house and assure them that the martyred soldier's severed head will be brought back.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, yesterday termed as 'barbaric' the brutal killing of Indian jawans along the Line of Control (LoC), and said there cannot be business as usual with Islamabad.

Dr. Singh, who broke his silence on the prevailing tension with Pakistan on the LoC, said the attack on the Indian jawans is unacceptable.

"After this barbaric act, there cannot be business as usual with Pakistan. Pakistan must be held accountable for what happened on the LoC. Hope Pakistan will bring the perpetrators of beheading to justice. The future peace process depends on Pakistan," he said.

Tension between the two Asian neighbours has escalated ever since Indian jawan Lance Naik Hemraj was beheaded in an attack by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control on January 8.

India has lodged a strong protest against the ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC and made it clear to it that the Army reserves the right to retaliate if provoked.

The Army's position was conveyed at a brigadier-level flag meeting between the two sides at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing-point in Poonch sector of the Jammu region on Monday.

Pakistan has denied India's claim that its troops crossed the Line of Control to ambush a patrol party in the Mendhar sector in Poonch district. (ANI)

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