Chandigarh: Give a "free hand" to Army to tackle the dangerous situations in the line of duty, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said on Monday, while strongly condemning the "barbaric attack" by a Pakistani special forces team in which two security personnel were killed and their bodies mutilated.
The sharp reaction from the Punjab Chief Minister came after two Indian security personnel were on Monday beheaded by a Pakistani special forces team that sneaked 250 metres across the Line of Control (LoC) into the Poonch sector under the cover of heavy mortar fire.
Amarinder Singh, himself an ex-armyman, came out in solidarity with the Indian soldiers, expressing his concern over the increasing vulnerability of soldiers on the borders, PTI reported.
He said that our soldiers are being exposed to all kinds of risks and atrocities, not only at the hands of enemy forces from across the border but sometimes also at the hands of civilians, as happened recently in Kashmir.
Reacting strongly on today's incident in which bodies of two Indian soldiers were mutilated, he urged the central government to send out a strong signal to the inimical forces against indulging in such atrocities and barbaric acts.
He backed the Indian Army's warning of "appropriate response" for the "despicable act."
Such unprovoked acts of excessive violence cannot be tolerated or allowed to go unpunished, he said, adding that the Indian soldiers were "not a dispensable commodity to be sacrificed at the altar of such uncivilised and savage assaults".
In a similar vein, he also came down heavily on those criticising the Indian Army's action of tying a man to a jeep= to protect its soldiers from the vicious attack unleashed by civilians during the recent elections in Kashmir.
The civilians tried to take the law in their hands, he said, adding that it was the duty of the army officers to protect their jawans.
Coming out in defence of an army officer, in the line of fire from various quarters, including a section of the media, over his 'human shield' action, Amarinder said the officer was simply doing his duty.
The chief minister said, "had I been in the same situation I would have carried out the same action." In a message to his former comrades in army, he said, "Regardless of your rank on retiring don't forget your past and that you belong to one of the finest armies in this world."
"Initiative is part of our training and curtailing it is killing the very essence of regimental soldiering," he further said, adding, "I hope and trust that officer is suitably awarded for his decision and that all of us fully support his action."
(With PTI inputs)