New Delhi: The Indian Army hit back at Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday after the AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) chief sought to lend a communal colour to the death of Indian army soldiers in Saturday’s Sunjwan camp attack in Jammu.

“We don’t communalise martyrs, those making statements don’t know the Army well," Lt. General Devraj Anbu, GOC (general officer commanding) Northern Command, told reporters in Udhampur, on Wednesday.

Owaisi stirred a controversy on Tuesday when he spoke about the religious affiliations of the Indian soldiers killed in the militant attack.

“The so-called nationalists blame and question the nationalism of Muslims. In this attack, five out seven who sacrificed their lives are Kashmiri Muslims. It’s a reminder to all those who question our integrity and love for the country. Muslims are dying for the country, but are called Pakistani. Terrorists are not differentiating but Muslims are still asked to prove their loyalty to the country," Owaisi said.

The attack on the Sunjwan camp came amid an escalation in militant assaults in Jammu and Kashmir. On Monday, a CRPF (central reserve police force) camp was attacked in Srinagar’s Karan Nagar area, in which one CRPF soldier was killed.

About the situation in Kashmir, Anbu said, “The enemy is frustrated and is trying softer targets. When they fail at attacking borders they attack the camps."

“All three groups – Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Toiba - are hands in glove, whether it’s in Kashmir Valley or here (Jammu). There’s no differentiation, they keep jumping from one target to other. Anyone who picks up arms and is against the State is a terrorist and we’ll deal with him accordingly," Anbu added.

In the wake of the attacks, army officers said Pakistan would have to bear the consequences of its action along the Line of Control (LoC).

“They will have to face the consequences. We will now step up the pressure on Pakistan and use all direct and indirect methods of firing. While direct methods include taking aim and firing, indirect methods involve artillery fire and mortar shelling which will inflict heavier damage to the Pakistani posts," said a senior Indian Army officer, requesting anonymity.

The army officer added that Pakistan has stepped up unprovoked firing and shelling in Kashmir since 23 December.

The Indian government’s records show that Pakistan violated the ceasefire 840 times in 2017, and that since the beginning of this year alone, it has been responsible for 160 violations.

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