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Freed jawan pats Pak guards

Srinagar/Islamabad, Aug. 8: Islamabad today released a Border Security Force jawan whose snagged boat had been swept into Pakistan by strong currents in the river Chenab on Wednesday.

Although Satyasheel Yadav’s unusually long detention of more than 48 hours has surprised many, BSF chief D.K. Pathak praised the Pakistani border guards for treating him well and defended their right to have him questioned by multiple agencies.

Pakistan Rangers handed Yadav, 30, over to the BSF at the Octroi border post in Jammu.

Yadav had earlier been made to address a news conference in Sialkot, Pakistan, where he said he had been treated well.

“They took my introduction. They helped me to the extent they could. They kept me better than what I had expected. I have no complaints, I’m happy,” PTI quoted him.

Yadav had been on a boat patrol on Wednesday with three other BSF jawans in the Akhnoor sector. As the motorboat negotiated a narrow bend in the river, its engine failed, officers said.

The other three jawans swam up to a rescue boat sent to fetch them but the rope holding Yadav, who told reporters he cannot swim, snapped. The current took him and his boat several hundred metres into Pakistan.

“I jumped into the water near a Pakistani border post and was rescued by the Pakistan Rangers,” Yadav said.

“He was wearing a life jacket, else he would have drowned,” said the BSF boss who had flown in for the handover. The Rangers have returned the boat too.

Pathak told reporters in Jammu he couldn’t explain why Yadav’s release had taken so long. But he defended the Rangers.

“They had every right to find out how come he is there. Of course, different functionaries (across agencies) asked him questions and this is not very uncommon.”

In 2011, when an Indian army chopper carrying four officers strayed across the frontier in Ladakh, they and the aircraft were handed over within hours. Police sources linked the delay in Yadav’s case to the escalation of border tensions.

A BSF officer said Yadav had been debriefed “to find out what kind of information the Pakistanis tried to extricate from him”. Yadav is a native of Uttar Pradesh, PTI reported.