An Indian Army soldier who “inadvertently crossed over” to the other side of the Line of Control (LoC), a day after the surgical strikes, is in Pakistan’s custody, confirmed Islamabad’s DGMO.
ANI reported that the neighboring country’s DGMO accepted that Chandu Babulal Chauhan is in their custody. This is the first reaction by Pakistan on the incident.
Pakistan DGMO acknowledges it has Army Jawan Chandu Chavan in custody: Army sources
— ANI (@ANI_news) October 13, 2016
Earlier, it was reported that Pakistan will formally treat captured Indian soldier Chandu Babulal Chohan as a Prisoner of War (PoW) and accord him the treatment prescribed under the Geneva Convention.
Pakistan is viewing Chohan as an active combatant captured after India announced to the world that it had carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Chohan, a soldier from the 37 Rashtriya Rifles had inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the LoC with his weapon on September 29. However, he had nothing to do with the Army’s surgical strikes on terror launchpads in PoK.
In times of peace, if anyone inadvertently crosses over, Indian and Pakistani Army local commanders get in touch through flag meetings at the LoC and hand back the people. If required, the DGMOs of the two Armies can also get in touch. In October 2011, for example, an Indian Army helicopter with four Army personnel on board flew by mistake into PoK and landed there. Pakistan handed back the men and helicopter.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured that the release of the Indian soldier was being taken up with Islamabad and all efforts are being made to ensure his early release.
Chauhan had allegedly been captured by Pakistani troops at Jhandroot, west of Mankote, and was now being kept at the military headquarters in Nikayal.
India has repeatedly written to Pakistan, seeking his return but has not got a positive response yet. Sources said that while India’s message was received by the other side, they have not responded yet.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said on Sunday that the mechanism through the DGMO has been activated seeking return of the soldier.
Chauhan’s grandmother had passed away after hearing the news of his crossing over to Pakistan.
Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention protects captured military personnel, some guerrilla fighters, and certain civilians. It applies from the moment a prisoner is captured until he or she is released/repatriated. One of the main provisions of the convention makes it illegal to torture prisoners and states that a prisoner can only be required to give their name, date of birth, rank and service number if applicable.