**Kurukshetra (Haryana):** Indian Army soldier Mandeep Singh, whose body was mutilated by terrorists near the Line of Control (LoC), was on Sunday cremated in his village in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district with full military honours.
Mandeep, a soldier of the 17th Sikh Regiment, was killed in an gun battle with terrorists in Machhil sector of Kupwara area of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday night. He hailed from Antehri village in Kurukshetra district, about 100 km from Chandigarh.
Hundreds of people, including men, women and children, gathered to pay their last respects to the martyr. The people raised slogans of “Long live Mandeep” and against Pakistan.
His body was brought to Ambala on Saturday and handed over to his family on Sunday.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar visited the village on Sunday morning to share the grief with Mandeep’s family. Senior officers of the army, district administration and the police were present at the cremation.
Residents of Mandeep’s village said that no Diwali would be celebrated in the village as a mark of respect to the martyr. Antehri village is known for sending its men to the forces.
“We are proud of the sacrifice of our son. Pakistan must be taught a lesson for its inhuman actions,” Mandeep’s father Phool Singh said.
Mandeep, who was married in 2014, leaves behind his young widow, Prerna, who is a constable in the Haryana Police, and parents.
“Our government should take decisive action to finish Pakistan. We cannot let our soldiers die like this,” an inconsolable Prerna told the media.
The slain martyr was to celebrate Diwali with his family at his village this year.
The Indian Army, in an official statement on Saturday, said the soldier’s body was “mutilated” and added that it would retaliate with an “appropriate response”.
Khattar described Mandeep’s killing as a cowardly act by the terrorists. The Chief Minister said that a financial assistance of Rs 50 lakh would be given to the next of kin.
This is not the first time that Pakistan has mutilated the bodies of Indian soldiers.
During the Kargil war in 1999, Captain Saurabh Kalia, soldiers Arjunram Baswana, Mula Ram Bidiasar, Naresh Singh Sinsinwar, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria and Bhika Ram Mudh of the 4 Jat Regiment were captured by Pakistani troops and brutally tortured.
The soldiers had their ear drums pierced with hot iron rods, eyes punctured and genitals cut off. The autopsy of the bodies also revealed that they were burnt with cigarettes butts. Their limbs were also chopped off, teeth broken and skull fractured during the torture. Even their nose and lips were sliced off.
In another incident, on January 8, 2013, Pakistani soldiers entered Indian territory in Krishna Ghati sector of the border and killed two Indian soldiers — Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh. Indian officials said both the bodies were mutilated, and Hemraj’s body was decapitated.