Pakistan Army's border action team (BAT) crossed the LoC in a ceasefire violation at Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir, and mutilated two Indian soldiers
New Delhi: The Indian Army said it will avenge the slaying and mutilation of two soldiers by the Pakistani Army on Monday, a day that also saw militants kill five police constables and two bank employees during a bank van heist in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Indian Army’s stark warning came after the bodies of two Indian soldiers were found mutilated after an alleged ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Krishna Ghati sector in Poonch district on Monday morning.
Later on Monday afternoon, unidentified terrorists killed five Jammu and Kashmir police constables and two J&K Bank employees in Kulgam district in the course of a bank van robbery, the state police confirmed. The militants’ attempt at looting the cash remained unsuccessful.
The Indian Army said the Pakistan Army had carried out “unprovoked rocket and mortar firing on two forward posts on the Line of Control in Krishna Ghati sector." It also added that “a BAT action (border action team) was launched by Pakistan on an Indian patrol operating in between the two posts." Condemning the mutilation of its soldiers, the Indian Army threatened to retaliate in equal measure.
“In an unsoldierly act by the Pak Army, the bodies of two of our soldiers in the patrol were mutilated. Such despicable act of Pakistan Army will be appropriately responded," the Indian Army’s Northern Command said.
On Monday morning at around 8am, heavy shelling was reported in the Krishna Ghati region, after which an Indian Army counter-infiltration patrol came under attack by Pakistan Army, causing the deaths of an Army jawan and a Border Security Force (BSF) head constable, the army said. The Indian Army retaliated, leading to a heavy exchange of fire.
According to the union home ministry, Pakistan violated the ceasefire 228 times in 2016, and Monday’s alleged violation is the eighth in March alone.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a gathering following Turkey President Recep Erdogan’s visit in New Delhi, “No region can validate terrorism. No intent, goal, reason or rationale can validate terrorism". While defence experts described the mutilation as a “war crime" and a violation of the Geneva Convention which forbids atrocities, they warned that this would not be the last such incident.
“The Pakistan Army is resorting to psychological operations through such barbaric means of mutilation," said Maj Gaurav Arya, a defence expert.
While the Valley has been witnessing sporadic episodes of militants infiltrating from across the border and engaging in gun battles with the Indian security forces, experts said that the situation was much more grim in areas such as Poonch, Krishna Ghati and Bhimber Gali, as opposed to maintown Kashmir, especially in areas such Srinagar—where civilian angst against the Indian state is high.
“Shelling and mortar attacks are unheard of in the valley region. These attacks happen along the LC in the Jammu sector, especially Poonch. In the interiors, the infiltrators have a camp set up from where they infiltrate. This is done to systematically punish the population in that region for its loyalty to India. The situation is not so in Kashmir," Arya added.
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