NEW DELHI: The violent clash that claimed 20 Indian soldiers started over a surveillance post set up by the Chinese Army on a narrow mountain trail on the Indian side of the LAC in violation of an agreement.
According to sources, the Chinese side was supposed to remove the post set up on the southern banks of the Galwan river as per an agreement arrived on June 6 between the Corps Commanders of the two sides. On Monday, a unit of Indian soldiers, commanded by Colonol B Santosh Babu, had gone to verify the compliance of the agreement and found that the Chinese had not withdrawn.
“The Chinese were supposed to move back from the area where they had pitched tents; instead, they had erected a new tent. Initially when the Commanding Officer of the unit asked them about the new tent, the LA men present retreated to the Chinese side of the LAC. They returned shortly with a bigger number of soldiers wearing protective gear and armed with stones, nail-studded sticks, iron rods and clubs. They encircled the Indians and started hitting with rods, stick and stones,” said a source.
Around 600 PLA men encircled Indian soldiers, about 120 in numbers, and started assaulting them. The action was premeditated, the sources said, as the Chinese had come prepared in riot gear with shields, riot helmet and guards. Though no bullets were fired, but there was extreme violence to the extent of mutilation of bodies.
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The clash went on for a few hours during which several Indian and Chinese soldiers fell into the icy Galwan river as a portion of the road caved in, the sources said. While 20 Indians died in the incident, the Chinese suffered heavy casualties, too. “We have counted 43 bodies being moved out of the area,” said an officer.