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July 17, 1999
India sends bodies of two soldiers back to Pakistan
The bodies of Captain Karnal Sher Khan and an unidentified soldier, draped in the green Pakistani flags, were handed over to an official of the International Committee of the Red Cross at the army base hospital in New Delhi this evening, to be flown to Karachi.
The Red Cross official, Dennis Allistone, checked the bodies and documents of the two soldiers at 1815 IST before taking them to Palam airport, an army spokesman said.
Earlier, the bodies of Captain Sher, an officer of 12 Northern Light Infantry, and the soldier were brought from the mortuary in coffins draped with Pakistani flags with full military honours by jawans of the Rajputana Rifles.
India had approached Pakistan through the Red Cross to accept the bodies of its soldiers. But Pakistan wanted the bodies to be sent back to establish the identity of the dead men.
India refused to do so, saying it was unheard of to send bodies just for verification, and instead suggested that some persons from Pakistan, including members of the families of those dead, could be sent to Delhi to identify the bodies.
Pakistan did not respond. India then imposed a deadline of July 15 for claiming the bodies. Finally, Pakistan accepted that the bodies were of its army personnel.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army today said the bodies of 249 Pakistani soldiers were recovered from the Kargil sector during Operation Vijay, 150 of them in the Drass and Mushkoh Valley sectors.
The maximum number of bodies, 35, were retrieved from a position called Helmet in Drass. Twenty-seven bodies were buried as per military custom by Indian troops at Point 4812 in the Batalik sector where 99 bodies were found.
Twenty bodies were recovered at Pimple II in Drass and 20 each at Point 5140 and south of Point 5287 in the Batalik sector.
While 18 bodies were found in Khalubar and 17 at Point 5203, 14 each were retrieved at Point 4700, Point 4875/Flat Top and Twin Bump.
Ten bodies were taken away from Three Pimples/Lone Hill, nine from Dog Hill, seven from Tololing Ridge, six from The Hump, four from a mortar position, three each from Rock Fall, Point 5287 and Rocky Knob, two from 'Y' Junction and Spur, and one from Point 4040.
Three bodies recovered from Twin Bump and one each from Helmet and Point 4875/Flat Top were handed over to Pakistan.
The remaining 244 bodies were buried as per military tradition and with Islamic rites by Indian troops.
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