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
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 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.
Meanwhile, Chavan’s kin and residents of his native village Bohivir in northern Maharashtra were overjoyed on his release on Saturday by Pakistan. His family thanked authorities for securing his safe return.
Scores of villagers came out into the streets to greet the Chavan family, who were overwhelmed by the unexpected turn of events, laughing and crying at the same time.
Chavan’s elder brother Bhushan said: “We are extremely grateful to the government for securing his safe release. We shall remain indebted to (Minister of State for Defence) Subhash Bhamre for all his help in ensuring his return home.”
“It is unbelievable and the news is still sinking in. We are so happy… for us, its like all festivals — Diwali, Holi — coming together simultaneously and we shall celebrate when he comes home after such a long time,” his married sister Rupali Patil said wiping away tears of joy.
After hearing of the news of Chavan’s capture, his aged grandmother suffered a heart attack and died a few days later.
Bhamre — who represents Dhule constituency where Chavan’s village is — maintained regular touch with his family all these months.
At a function in Mumbai 10 days ago, Bhamre had indicated the possibility of securing Chavan’s early release from Pakistan though he did not specify any time-frame.