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2 May 2017

Soldier-mutilation finger at Pak

TT, Srinagar/New Delhi, May 1: Pakistani troops crossed the Line of Control, infiltrated 200 metres into Indian territory and killed two soldiers today before mutilating their bodies, the Indian government said, vowing to exact revenge for what it called a "despicable" act.
This was the third time that the body of an Indian soldier had been mutilated since the September 29 "surgical strikes" by the army.
Sources said it was the biggest provocation by Pakistan in the five-month tenure of its new army chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa, who had yesterday visited the LoC and pledged support to Kashmir's azadi struggle.
Defence minister Arun Jaitley said the sacrifice of the two soldiers - identified as Paramjeet Singh, a junior commissioned officer in the army's Sikh battalion, and Prem Sagar, a head constable of the Border Security Force - would not go in vain.
"Two of our soldiers in the Krishna Ghati sector in Poonch have been killed and their bodies mutilated by our neighbours. This is a reprehensible and an inhuman act. Such attacks don't even take place during war, let alone peace," Jaitley said in a statement.
"Bodies of soldiers being mutilated is an extreme form of barbaric act. The government of India strongly condemns this act and the whole country has full confidence and faith in our armed forces which will react appropriately to this inhuman act. The sacrifice of these soldiers will not go in vain."
Senior army officials briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the attack. Army chief Bipin Rawat reached Kashmir this evening on a two-day pre-scheduled trip.
Pakistan's military and foreign office denied that a Border Action Team (BAT) from that country had mutilated the bodies of the two Indian soldiers and called the Indian allegations of the attack false.
"The Pakistan Army did not commit any ceasefire violation on the Line of Control as alleged by India," Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said. "Indian blame of mutilating Indian soldiers is also false."
Earlier, the Inter-Services Press Relations of the Pakistan military issued a near-identical statement.
The army did not officially give details of the disfiguring of the bodies but sources in army headquarters in Delhi said the two soldiers had been beheaded following the 8.40am attack by suspected Pakistani troopers in Jammu division. A BSF jawan, Rajinder Singh, suffered splinter injuries.
The army's Northern Command accused the Pakistan Army of carrying out the "unprovoked" rocket and mortar attack - the 65th ceasefire violation by Pakistani forces since January this year, according to the Indian Army.
"Pak Army carried out unprovoked rocket and mortar firing on two forward posts on the Line of Control in Krishna Ghati sector. Simultaneously a Border Action Team (BAT) action was launched on a patrol operating in between the two posts. 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 Northern Command said in a tweet.
Sources said Pakistani Border Action Teams comprise members of militant groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba who are backed by the army.
In November last year, three Indian soldiers were killed in Machhil near the LoC in Kupwara and one of the bodies was "mutilated". In October, sepoy Mandeep Singh was killed by terrorists who had crossed the LoC and his body mutilated, again in Machhil.
An army official in Delhi said today's attackers appeared to be Pakistani soldiers as they were in uniform.
Sources in the Indian Army said troops pounded Pakistan Army positions after the ceasefire violation but "appropriate action" would follow and could include surgical strikes.
In September last year, the army had carried out surgical strikes on militant launch pads across the LoC following a suicide attack on the army's brigade headquarters in Uri that left 19 soldiers dead.
Today's attack came a day after Pakistan's army chief Bajwa visited the Haji Pir sector of the LoC where he said:
"We will always stand by their (Kashmiris') rightful political struggle for the right of self-determination and recourse to basic human rights."
He also accused India of state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir.
The attack on the soldiers came on a day militants dressed in army fatigues ambushed a van carrying cash for banks and killed five policemen and two security guards in south Kashmir's Kulgam district, some 70km from Srinagar.
The Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attack and for killing the policemen. A group spokesman claimed the guards were killed by CRPF personnel.

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