Saturday, January 12, 2013

LoC Headcount

It is not the best of times to be a soldier at the Line of Control (LoC)...

Headhunters are back in action on both sides of the border. Until last week it was only the regiments posted along the LoC that kept a tally of the heads rolling to and fro. Now the Indian media is also in the fray.

Praveen Swami of the Hindu has published a couple of articles that goes to show that the Indian army, far from being the eternal 'victim' portrayed by the Indian press, has been actually quite a meticulous stickler to the Hammurabi Code - 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth'.

According to this report, in the aftermath of a slaughter at Prankote village in Jammu & Kashmir (1998), the Pakistani's woke one morning to find a hand-written note lying next to a pile of 22 dead civilians, which asked a slightly rhetorical question - “How does your own blood feel?”

A few centuries ago, the same question was raised by Vlad-III, Prince of Wallachia, to the Ottoman Turks led by Mehmet-II. In 1462, Mehmed marched to the Wallachian capital of Târgovişte,  he discovered that all the roads to the city were lined with about 20,000 impaled Turks. Horrified, the Sultan and his troops retreated.

Over the ages, horror has always been a useful tool, both for invaders and defenders. Unfortunately, in most cases, it is the hapless civilian and the foot-soldier who dies of torture and mutilation.

As the saying goes, "When elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled."


Swami, Praveen (2013): Locked in UN Files - 15 Years of Bloodletting, 30Jan13), url -

Let’s mount pressure to get back Hemraj’s head: Army Chief (The Hindu, 15Jan13) -

ISI gave Rs 5 lakh to man who beheaded Indian soldier (ToI, 31Jan13) -