Lucknow: Army Chief Bikram Singh will meet the family of Lance Naik Hemraj Singh, who was killed by Pakistani troops near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district on January 08.
"I will go. They are my people. Tomorrow is Army Day, I will send my senior officer there. I will definitely go. Let this event, the Army Day, be over, I will definitely go and meet the family. If that is the demand, I shall be there," General Singh told media here.
The family, which entered its fifth day of hunger strike on Monday, had earlier in the day demanded that it would call off its fast if Army Chief Bikram Singh visits the family members of the martyr and assure them that his severed head will be brought back.
"We are not going to call off our fast if a leader comes here and request us to do so. We want the Army Chief to come here and assure us that he will get Hemraj's head back from Pakistan. Only then we will call off our fast," Narendra, who is on fast, had told a news agency.
Into the sixth day of their fast, the family of the martyred soldier also refused to take "even liquid". Hemraj's wife Dharamvati, mother Meena and cousin Narendra have taken nothing but intravenous fluid as their condition deteriorated while doctors kept a close watch and examined them at regular intervals.
Dr Harshwardhan, Medical Officer of Chatha Public Health Centre, said, "The family is refusing even to take any liquids. But we are maintaining their vital parameters. Dharamvati is being given IV fluid."
Earlier in the day, the Army Chief told media that the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops is a "gruesome and an unpardonable act”.
“The beheading of our soldier is unacceptable,” he said. He said the Army understands the grief of the families of the brave soldiers who laid down their lives as they are "our families too" and they will make all attempts to ease the pain and suffering of Lance Naik Hemraj's family.
On bringing back the head of Lance Naik Hemraj, General Singh said that the matter is being pursued through the diplomatic channel, adding that the matter has been conveyed at DGMO level.
Meanwhile, BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh visited the family.
At the village, 160 km far from Delhi and 50 km from Mathura, a large number of police personnel were deployed and almost the whole village had assembled near the house and village 'choupal' (common meeting place).
Villagers, who sat at the choupal in solidarity with the family, and relatives said Hemraj was very keen that his children -- Nirmala (7), Prince (5) and Kallu (3) -- get education and three months ago had shifted to a house in Chatha, which is a little far away, because it had a school.
Hemraj was recruited in the Army in 2001 and he got married to Dharamvati three years later. According to relatives, he had booked tickets to come to his village on February seven.
(With Agency inputs)
First Published: Monday, January 14, 2013, 09:35