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Pakistan releases Indian soldier, handed over to India

Amritsar: Pakistan on Saturday released Indian Army soldier, Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan, who had inadvertently crossed the LoC and was in the captivity of the neighbouring country since September last year.

Pakistan defence and border authorities handed over Chavan at the Wagah-Attari joint check post to Indian border guards on Saturday, Border Security Force (BSF) officials said here.

He was handed over to Army authorities after his return to India.

Chavan, 22, of 37 Rashtriya Rifles, was taken into custody by Pakistan Army after he inadvertently crossed the Line of Control (LoC) in the Mendhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir in September last year.

The incident took place just hours after the Indian forces carried out surgical strikes on September 29 inside Pakistani territory to destroy terrorist launch pads.

The Pakistan Army in a statement earlier said that Chavan had “deserted his post at the LOC due to his grievances of maltreatment against his commanders”.

“He wilfully crossed LOC on September 29, 2016 and surrendered himself to Pakistan Army,” the Pakistan Army’s media wing said.

It said that “as a gesture of goodwill and in continuation of our efforts to maintain peace and tranquility along LOC and WB (International Border, Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan has been convinced to return to his own country and will be handed over to Indian authorities at Wahga Border on humanitarian grounds.”

India had been in regular touch with Pakistan for the release of Chavan.