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Slain Indian soldier's family ends fast

Posted on Jan 14, 08:59PM | IBNS

Family members of slain Indian soldier Lance Naik Hemraj Singh ended their indefinite hunger strike after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav visited them in Mathura district of the north Indian state on Monday, reports said.

Hemraj's family were on an indefinite hunger strike demanding the government to bring back his severed head.

Hemraj's mother Meena Devi and wife Dharamwati Devi earlier said they would not be convinced that the jawan was dead unless they saw his head.

They announced the decision to end the fast minutes after meeting the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.

Yadav announced that the state government will provide Rs. 25 lakh to Hemraj's family.

Speaking to reporters, Yadav said: "Money cannot compensate their loss. We must stand beside them and we will help them in every possible ways."

Earlier in the day, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including party president Nitin Gadkari, met the family.

Gadkari along with Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh visited the family as the party president crticised Pakistan and said the country's response on the issue was 'unfortunate'.

Gadkari told reporters: "Pakistan government's response on the matter is unfortunate. They should apologise."

"The entire nation is shocked and disturbed today...PM should not keep quiet on the issue," he said.

Army Chief General Bikram Singh might meet slain Indian soldier Hemraj's family members, media reports said on Monday.

General Singh on Monday assured that Hemraj's family of all possible help.

"I want to convey condolences to the families...We will make sure they are given all possible help. We will give them all that is due, and everything they are entitled to," he told media.

Calling the beheading of the Indian soldier by Pakistan as unacceptable, General Singh said: "We got to retaliate to provocation to firing in a measured manner and for effects."

Hemraj's family earlier said they would end the fast if General Singh visits them and assured them of bring back the martyred soldier's severed head.

Ties between the two nuclear armed neighbours deteriorated last week over border firing and killing of two Indian soldiers, including the beheading of one of the martyrs by Pakistani troops.

The mutilated bodies of Hemraj and his colleague, Sudhakar Singh, who were were found in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on January 8. The incident sparked a diplomatic furore.