Panaji, Oct 2: Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan, posted in the 37 Rashtriya Rifles, located in the hostile sector Medhana in Jammu & Kashmir, ended up crossing the line and entering Pakistani territory. Chavan was apprehended by the Pakistani Rangers. He was taken into custody. The news of him being taken into captivity by Pakistan broke out hours after India carried out surgical strikes in the Pakistani-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). Upon hearing the news of Chavan’s crossing over into enemy territory, the sepoy’s grandmother suffered a heart stroke and succumbed to death. In Chavan’s home village of Dhule, the atmosphere is rapidly turning tense. As the bilateral hostility between India and Pakistan is escalating, the dwellers of Dhule are turning more pessimistic regarding the chances of Chavan’s return. However, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, today, assured that the army is using diplomatic hotline to discuss with Pakistan about the release of Chavan.Also Read - Woman Delivers Baby at Indo-Pak Crossing in Attari, Names The Newborn 'Border'
According to Parrikar, DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh has begun official talks with his Pakistani counterpart to secure the release of Chavan. Since the 22-year-old sepoy ended up crossing the border with no malicious intent, army has sought the immediate release of the soldier. However, Parrikar added that the release could be delayed due to the ongoing border hostilities. “Such inadvertent crossing by Army and civilians are not unusual on either side. They are returned through existing mechanisms,” the Defence Minister further added. Also Read - Nagaland Violence: 14 Including Soldier Dead, Agitated Mob Vandalises Assam Rifles Camp | Top Points
However, until a day ago, the residents of Dhule remained skeptical regarding the efforts taken by the government and the claims made by the army post surgical strikes. Some of the internet-savvy residents have even visited Pakistani news sites to ascertain the truth in the matter. One of them, Sandip Patil, cited the news report in Pakistani daily Dawn, which claimed that 8 Indian soldiers have been killed and 1 arrested as the Pakistani Rangers foiled their attempts of infiltration. “I confirmed the information of capture myself, from the Dawn news website of Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. (ALSO READ: Mechanism underway to bring captured Indian soldier back from Pakistan: Manohar Parrikar) Also Read - Nagaland Tense After 13 Civilians Killed In Firing Incident In Mon District, Internet Services Snapped
The Bohivir village in Dhule, from where Chandu Chavan hails, has more than 100 youngsters serving in the Indian army. Village sarpanch Kiran Thakre said that an atmosphere of tension has gripped the village as many boys are serving in the army. Every news of casualty which emerges from the border, escalates the level of tension in the village.
Chavan’s elder brother Bhushan Chavan also serves in the Indian army. After the news of their grandmother’s death, Bhushan returned back to their village for the last rites.
In the wake of their grandmother’s death, and with Chavan still under Pakistan’s captivity, the villagers have decided not to celebrate Navratri with much fanfare. People have been urged not to use music and crackers for celebration. The deities should be worshipped as per the rituals with no additional fanfare, the village sarpanch has instructed.