In a video released by the Indian Army on Wednesday, a Pakistani militant captured near the Line of Control in Kashmir appeals to his alleged handlers in Pakistan to take him back to his mother.
“I appeal to the Lashkar-e-Taiba area commander, the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence based in Pakistan] and the Pakistan Army to take me back to my mother just like they sent me here [to India],” Ali Babar Patra, the teenage militant, said in the video message.
On September 26, Patra was captured in Uri after an appeal to him to surrender, according to an Indian Army statement released on Tuesday. He was one of six militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba who had attempted to infiltrate Uri in Baramulla district on the night of September 18, the statement said.
Army personnel had intercepted the infiltration attempt, after which four of the militants had returned to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir while two managed to cross over, the statement added. The Army had then launched a search operation to find the two militants. Atiq ur Rehman, alias Qari Anas, was killed before Patra’s surrender on September 26.
In the video message, Patra claimed that the Pakistan Army, the country’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba were spreading lies about the situation in Kashmir.
“We were told that the Indian Army is carrying out a bloodbath, but everything is peaceful here,” he claimed. “I want to tell my mother that the Indian Army has taken good care of me.”
He claimed that the Indian Army’s behaviour towards the people visiting the camp where he is lodged was good. Patra claimed that the behaviour of the Pakistan Army was “completely opposite”.
“On the contrary, they [the Pakistan Army] take advantage of our helplessness in Pakistani [Occupied] Kashmir to send us here,” the militant claimed.
Patra also pointed to an alleged nexus between the Pakistan Army, the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. He claimed that Rehman left him with the Inter-Services Intelligence, which sent him to the Pakistan Army.
The teenage militant said that a retired official of the Pakistan Army trained him. “In our training, we were taught operations of AK-47 and grenades,” he said. “Then we were sent to LeT and I got selected.”
According to the Army statement released on Tuesday, Patra claimed his family was poor and he had lost his father at an early age. The statement went on to say the militant had claimed that Rehman had given him Rs 20,000 for his mother’s treatment and had promised an additional sum of Rs 30,000 upon his return from Kashmir.
This is not the first time Indian or Pakistani authorities have released videos that have led to controversies. In the past, they have given rise to allegations that the statements made in such videos were coerced.
In March 2016, the Pakistani authorities had released a video featuring Kulbhushan Jadhav, who claims that he is an Indian Navy officer and due to retire in 2022. Earlier, India had admitted that Jadhav was in the Navy but had retired and also held that he has no links with the country’s intelligence services.
After the video was released, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs had responded by saying the government “categorically rejects allegations that this individual was involved in subversive activities in Pakistan at our behest”.
The ministry had added: “That the individual claims to make the statements of his own free will not only challenge credulity but clearly indicates tutoring.”
Later, in January 2018, Pakistan had released another video of Jadhav thanking the country’s officials for “treating him well” and arranging a meeting with his wife and mother.
India had then said that Pakistan was “continuing its practice of putting out coerced statements on video”.