Prem Sagar, head constable with the of 200th Battalion of the BSF, had last been home in February on a 45-day-leave. On Monday morning, he even promised his family that he would be back soon. But the bereaved family will only receive the soldier’s mutilated body in a casket wrapped in tricolour.
Prem was one of the two soldiers killed in in the Krishna Ghati sector along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan Army on Monday, their bodies mutilated. The two soldiers — Prem Sagar and Indian Army’s Naib Subedar Paramjeet Singh — were a part of a joint patrol team inspecting the border area to check the veracity of an intelligence report that landmines had been planted there by Pakistani troops.
However, reports suggest that this could have been a death trap meant to cause damage to the frontal posts of the army in the region.
Since they were looking for landmines, the patrol was taken by surprise by Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT), which had laid an ambush over 250 metres deep inside the Indian territory.
While the Pakistani troops attacked two forward posts with rockets and mortar bombs, the BAT personnel lay in wait for their targets. The Indian Army patrol too came under fusillade of gunfire, resulting in the death of two soldiers.
The BAT personnel quickly moved in and beheaded two fallen soldiers, official sources in New Delhi said. It was still not known if landmines had indeed been planted in the area.
Meanwhile, as reports of two Indian security forces personnel being killed and beheaded started filtering in, Prem Sagar’s family frantically tried to reach BSF officials on phone, said a report in Indian Express.
His brother, Daya Sagar, is also a serving jawan in the BSF, and waited long hours trying to confirm if the reports were true. Daya Sagar is currently on leave, and is visiting their family home in Uttar Pradesh’s Tikampar village, near Deoria. He was alerted by a neighbour who spoke to a journalist much before official confirmation reached the family, but frantic calls to the BSF personnel in Kashmir but could not be connected due to poor network. It wasn’t until Monday evening that the officials managed to confirm these reports, according to the Indian Express report.
Later in the day, BSF officials called Prem’s elder son Ishwar and confirmed his death, reported Hindustan.
The slain soldier’s family called Prem a martyr, and said they are proud of this fact. However, according to NDTV, the mutilation of his body has left Prem Sagar’s kin enraged and bitter.
Prem’s daughter told Hindustan that her father’s soul would only rest in peace when the Indian Army avenges his death and beheads 10 Pakistani soldiers in return.
Prem had last spoken to his daughter on Monday morning. He enquired about his wife’s health and told his daughter that he would not be able to talk to them in the evening, as he would be on the border post, the Hindustan report added.
Prem joined the force in 1994 and is survived by his wife and four children, three of who are still studying in school, according to NDTV.
Naib Subedar Paramjeet Singh, the slain Indian Army soldier, was from the 22 Sikh Regiment and hailed from Punjab’s Tarantaran.
India has reacted strongly to the mutilation of the soldiers bodies saying their sacrifice will not go in vain. Political parties came together to condemn the “barbaric act”, even as the government vowed an “appropriate” response.
“Such despicable act of Pakistan Army will be appropriately responded,” the Indian Army said in a press statement. Describing the mutilation as an extreme form of barbaric act, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the country has full confidence and faith in its armed forces and that the sacrifice of the two soldiers will not go in vain.
“The government of India strongly condemns this act and the whole country has full confidence and faith in our armed forces which will react appropriately to this inhuman act. The sacrifice of these two soldiers will not go in vain,” Jaitley said. “This is a reprehensible and an inhuman act. Such attacks don’t even take place during war, let alone during peace time.”
The Pakistan Army, however, denied mutilating the bodies of the two Indian security personnel.