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Indian troops beaten and mutilated with nail-studded poles in border clash with China

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The horrific scenes which left 20 Indian troops dead played out on the disputed border between the nuclear armed neighbours. China said its troops had suffered 43 casualties, but did not specify whether any of its men had been killed in the violent clashes in the Galwan Valley, Ladakh.

The need of the hour was for the Chinese side to reassess its action and take corrective action

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar

Guns were not used both sides observed a treaty which prohibits the use of firearms within 1.2 miles of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border created in the 17,000ft-high western Himalayan valley after India’s defeat in the brief 1962 Sino-Indian War.

But the Indian army claimed its men were beaten to death with nail-studded clubs and iron rods in hand-to-hand combat with Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops who then mutilated their corpses.

Some of the men are believed to have died after falling from a rocky outcrop into the freezing waters of a river below.

The grisly details of the deadliest border clashes since 1967 emerged ad funeral services for the Indian troops got under way.

Indians burned portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping as families cremated some of the soldiers.

Scores of people shouted “Victory to Mother India” as the body of Colonel B. Santosh Babu, the most senior Indian officer killed in the clashes, was taken in a military truck decked out with flowers to his hometown of Suryapet in southern India.

Col Babu’s mother Manjula told the New Indian Express: “I lost my son, I cannot bear it.

“But he died for the country and that makes me happy and proud.”

His father B Upendar told The Times of India: “I was always aware that one day I could hear what I heard today, and I was mentally prepared for it.

“Everyone dies but it is a privilege to die for the country and I am proud of my son.”

Funerals of other soldiers will be held in their hometowns and villages.

Residents in the northern city of Kanpur held a mock funeral of Mr Xi and burned his portrait, shouting anti-China slogans.

In Cuttack in eastern India, an effigy of Mr Xi and a Chinese flag were burned.

In the western Indian city of Surat, a group of people threw a Chinese-made television on the ground and destroyed it in protest.

Troops remain on high alert in the Galwan Valley three days after the battle.

Despite the tensions, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will take part in a previously scheduled virtual meeting with counterparts from Russia and China on June 23.

Mr Jaishankar spoke to senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi yesterday and said both sides had agreed not to take any steps to escalate matters.

An Indian official said senior military officers from both sides were holding more talks today to defuse tensions.

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But Mr Jaishankar and Mr Wang blamed each other’s army for the deadliest border clash since 1967 and called for the other side to rein in its troops.

The Indian foreign ministry said Mr Jaishankar had told Mr Wang: “The need of the hour was for the Chinese side to reassess its action and take corrective action.”

The Chinese foreign ministry said India must punish those responsible for the conflict and control its frontline troops.

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