Two Indian soldiers, who went missing in the Mushkoh Valley during the Kargil conflict in September 1999, were captured by Pakistani forces and then tortured to turn them into ‘assets’ to spy on their own country.
The claim has been made in a book titled “Missing in Action: The Prisoners who Never Came Back’’ that narrates the physical and mental torment the two men of the 108 Engineer Regiment — Bathinda native Jagseer Singh and Meerut’s Arif Mohammad Khan—underwent before being given training on espionage and forced to convert to Islam by Pakistan.
Authored by senior journalist Chander Suta Dogra, the book tells how the two were declared deserters by the army and their cases were never taken up properly by the Indian government, with their families leaving all hopes of the return of the missing men.
In Pakistan, the book claims, the two were first taken to the army unit deployed close to the LoC and subjected to third-degree torture before being sent to Chaklala and Rawalpindi. They were put through four stages of indoctrination followed by Mutt and Jeff interrogation techniques, it is claimed.
Then they were given the task of opening civil canteens in the Suratgarh, Lalgarh Jattan, Ganganagar and Bathinda cantonments and to collect intelligence which was to be passed on to Pakistani agents in New Delhi. Funds were to come from Pakistan to their families.
Pakistan kept on denying having any Indian soldiers in its custody.
Meanwhile, Arif’s wife Gudiya got remarried and was pregnant with her second husband’s child till the issue of two missing soldiers cropped up in the media in 2003 when he managed to write a letter to his family that he was in Pakistan Army’s custody.
India then strongly took up the issue with Pakistan, which in 2004 agreed to release the two in exchange of release of a Pakistani soldier captured near the Line of Control (LoC) in 2002 and two civilians.