Army chief to visit Lance Naik Sudhakar's family in Madhya Pradesh on Jan. 18(Update-Army Chief)

Sidhi (Madhya Pradesh), Jan. 16 (ANI): Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh will visit the family of martyred Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh in his native Dadhiya village in Madhya Pradesh's Sidhi District on January 18.

Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh will also accompany General Singh, official sources said here today.

A special team of the Army has already reached here to prepare for General Singh's visit.

On Wednesday, General Bikram Singh paid homage to and met the family members of Lance Naik Hemraj at Shernagar village of Uttar Pradesh's Mathura District, amid demands that the severed head of the martyred soldier be brought back.

General Singh along with his wife Surjeet Kaur and top army commanders conveyed their condolences to the family of Hemraj.

The Army Chief said: "I have come here to express solidarity with martyr's family. All their demands will be met according to the rulebook of the Army. We will stand by the family."

Commenting on continuous ceasefire violation by Pakistan on Line of Control, General Singh said: "We don't violate ceasefire, but will fire back when fired upon."

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.

"I will go. They are my people. 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 reporters on January 14.

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

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, had on Tuesday termed as 'barbaric' the brutal killing of Indian jawans along the Line of Control (LoC), saying 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.

On January 8, the two soldiers - Lance Naiks Sudhakar Singh and Hemraj Singh were killed near the LoC by Pakistani troops. The jawans belonged to the 13 Rajputana Rifles.

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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