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  India   All India  22 Jan 2017  Pakistan releases soldier who crossed LoC last year

Pakistan releases soldier who crossed LoC last year

Published : Jan 22, 2017, 2:57 am IST
Updated : Jan 22, 2017, 3:04 am IST

Sepoy Chandu Chavan spent 113 days in Pakistan’s captivity.

Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chauhan (Photo: PTI)
 Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chauhan (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi/Islamabad: An Indian soldier who had “inadvertently strayed” into Pakistan on September 29, hours after the surgical strike on terror camps in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, was handed over to Indian authorities on Saturday afternoon at Wagah. Sepoy Chandu Chavan spent 113 days in Pakistan’s captivity.

“Medical tests will be conducted on Mr Chavan to determine his physical condition after which he will be debriefed about his experience in Pakistan on the circumstances of his ‘straying’ as well as the treatment he was given in the neighbouring country,” an Army source told this newspaper.

Asked about whether Chavan, from 37 Rashtriya Rifles, will be allowed to join back, the source said: “It all depends on the details which will emerge after his debriefing”.

“In order to ensure his release, the matter was taken up with Pakistani military authorities through the existing Hotline and scheduled DGMO-level talks. The issue was also taken up diplomatically through our high commission in Pakistan and ministry of external affairs,” said Colonel Rohan Anand, Army spokesperson.

However, a Pakistan foreign ministry statement said that Chavan had deserted his check post and crossed over due to grievances with his superiors.

“Pakistan convinced the soldier to return to India being an Indian national and address his grievances through local grievance mechanisms,” said the Pakistan statement.

It added: “The decision of the government of Pakistan to return the Indian soldier is based on humanitarian grounds and the commitment to ensure peace and tranquility at the LoC and the Working Boundary.”

The Pakistani assertion occupies significance in the backdrop of a recent row in India over the treatment of soldiers who, it is alleged, are often employed in menial and domestic tasks in the family of the officer he is attached to.

The defence ministry is reported to have already written to the Army to review the “sahayak” or personal orderly system and to find out whether jawans working as “sahayaks” are being used for domestic work.

On Thursday, minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre had lauded Pakistan’s decision to release the jailed soldier. Incidentally, Chavan hails from Bhamre’s Lok Sabha constituency of Dhule in Maharashtra.

Earlier, hearing news of his capture in Pakistan, Chavan’s grandmother had died of shock. “My grandmother died of heart attack after hearing the news of Chandu’s capture. We had decided that until he returned her ashes will not be immersed in river. That day has now come,” said Chavan’s brother Bhushan.

Tags: sepoy chandu babulal chauhan, loc, wagah border
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi