Pak troops cross LoC, brutally kill 2 Indian soldiers

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 08, 2013 19:33 hrs

In a "provocative" attack, Pakistani soldiers crossed into Indian territory in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir and ambushed an Indian patrol killing two soldiers, one of whom was decapitated, the Army said on Tuesday.

Army's Additional Director General (Public Information) Major General S L Narasimhan said Northern Army Commander Lt Gen K T Parnaik visited the scene of action and confirmed that one of the two bodies was mutilated.

The body of one of the slain soldiers was found "badly mutilated" in a forested area of the Himalayan territory, said Rajesh K. Kalia, spokesman for the Indian army's Northern Command.

Other sources said the heads of both the Indian soldiers -- Lance Naiks, Hemraj and Sudhakar Singh -- have been chopped off and one was taken away by Pakistani intruders.

This was a chilling reminder of the brutal attack on Capt Saurabh Kalia and his team by Pakistani troops in Kaksar sector of Kargil during the 1999 conflict.

Tuesday's attack took place along the Line of Control in Poonch district when Pakistanis came about 100 metres into Indian territory and assaulted the patrol party.

Besides killing two, they also injured two other soldiers and took away their weapons and other belongings.

Pakistani troops slit throats of two Indian soldiers

Officials said that the Pakistani troops had killed the two Indian soldiers by slitting their throats.

Pakistani soldiers, apparently from the 29 Baloch Regiment, took advantage of a dense fog to sneak into an Indian post in Sona Gali area in the border district of Poonch.

Poonch Deputy Commissioner A.K. Sahu said the Pakistanis killed two Indian soldiers and wounded a third. "(The) Pakistani soldiers ... slit the throats of two army soldiers."

In fresh attack, Pak troops breach truce again

Hours after killing two Indian soldiers, Pakistani troops breached the ceasefire on the LoC again, opening heavy fire on Indian posts in Poonch district on Tuesday evening, said officials. Indian soldiers returned the fire.

There were no reports of casualties yet in the firing which was on till 11.30 p.m.

Army sources said that firing on forward Indian posts in the Krishnaghati sector started at 7 p.m., adding Indian army also gave a calibrated response.

Senior Indian army commanders are reviewing the situation both in regard to the killing of two soldiers by Pakistani troops who had intruded into the Indian territory from across the Line of Control that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan, and also the heavy firing late evening, the sources said.

A spokesman of the Northern Command had described Pakistani action of killing of the two soldiers as "grave provocation".

Northern Army Command chief Lt. Gen. K.T. Parnaik, who later visited the spot, asked the army to "stay alert and calm" and declared that "appropriate action will be taken at the appropriate time".

Army sources said that the Pakistani troops took away the weapons of the dead Indians: Sudhakar Singh and Hemraj of 13 Rajputana Rifles.

There were reports that one of the Indian soldiers was decapitated and the Pakistanis took away the head, but it could not be independently confirmed.

The sources said the Pakistanis reached the post since it was located close to the fence near the LoC, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

The Indian Army has erected a three-tier fence in Indian territory running along the LOC. The fence is about 500 metres to two kilometres inside Indian territory and seeks to prevent Pakistani intrusion.

But the Pakistanis sneaked in using the fog in the forested area as a cover, an army spokesman said.

"The (Indian) patrol spotted them and engaged the intruders" for about half hour after which the Pakistani troops retreated, he said.

Pak Army denies attack; terms it 'Indian propaganda'

The Pakistani military on Tuesday rejected the Indian Army's contention that Pakistani troops had killed two Indian soldiers after crossing the Line of Control, saying the accusation was aimed at diverting attention from another incident over the weekend.

A Pakistani military official, who did not want to be named, denied an "Indian allegation of unprovoked firing" along the LoC.

The official added: "It looks like Indian propaganda to divert the attention of the world from Sunday's raid on a Pakistani post by Indian troops in which a Pakistani soldier was killed".

The official said authorities had checked with commanders on the ground and ascertained that Pakistani forces had not crossed the LoC or carried out any raid.

"These are baseless allegations," he claimed.

The official claimed it is diversion tactic aimed at covering for a clash along the LoC two days earlier in which Pakistan had said one of its soldiers was killed after an Indian incursion. India denied its troops crossed the line.

The spokesman was referring to an earlier incident which Pakistan says involved firing by Indian troops that left one of their soldiers dead.

India says it were the Pakistanis who triggered the earlier gun battle.

Their "unprovoked firing on Indian troops" damaged the roof of a house in Churunda village. "Indian troops undertook controlled retaliation in response."

Sources said Pakistan Army's Border Action Team entered into Indian territory at Krishna Ghati area of Poonch district and carried out the strikes well past 11.30 AM and the attack lasted for more than an hour.

Reports said Pakistani troops entered about 100 metres into Indian territory and ambushed an Indian Army patrol.

Army's Udhampur-based Northern Command came out with a statement terming the attack as a "significant escalation" to the continuing series of ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts supported by Pakistan Army.

"A group of their regular soldiers intruded across the Line of Control in the Mendhar Sector on January 8. Pakistan army troops, having taken advantage of thick fog and mist in the forested area, were moving towards our posts when an alert area domination patrol spotted and engaged the intruders," it said.

Kalia said Tuesday's "intrusion" about 600 metres across the LoC in Mendhar - about 220 km of Jammu - marked "a significant escalation ... of ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts supported by the Pakistan Army".

"Pakistan army troops, having taken advantage of thick fog and mist in the forested area, were moving towards (their) own posts when an alert area domination patrol spotted and engaged the intruders," he said.

"The firefight between Pakistan and own troops continued for approximately half an hour, after which the intruders retreated back towards their side of the Line of Control."

He said India would take up the issue with Pakistan at a military flag meeting and also at a diplomatic level.

Indian military officials say the frequency of cross-border clashes has increased in recent weeks, with at least half a dozen ceasefire violations over the past week alone.

"I would say generally the picture has been a bit bleak," said Uday Bhaskar, an Indian military commentator and former director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, referring to relations between India and Pakistan.

"This incident only reiterates a certain pattern as far as the bilateral relationship is concerned."

He cited an apparent slowdown in Islamabad's commitment to granting India most-favoured-nation trading status and a recent visit to India by an adviser to Pakistan's prime minister whose comments infuriated the Indian government.

Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India's foreign ministry, said in a statement that military commanders from the two countries had been in contact since the violence. Such contacts normally occur to make sure confrontations do not escalate.

Brig. S. Chawla, a senior Indian army officer, said the Pakistani soldiers crossed into Kashmir near the town of Mendhar, about 175 kilometers from Srinagar, taking advantage of thick fog. The Pakistani soldiers retreated after a brief gunbattle with Indian forces, he said.

India denies its troops crossed LoC, asks Pak to uphold sanctity of Line of Control

India on Tuesday told Pakistan to uphold the sanctity of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in the backdrop of the recent firing incidents over which the two countries engaged in a blame game.

A day after its Deputy High Commissioner was called to the Pakistan Foreign Office to lodge a protest over what it termed as an "unprovoked Indian attack" on one of its military posts along the LoC, India denied violating the ceasefire, saying, Pakistan troops started "unprovoked firing" on Indian troops who undertook controlled retaliation in response.

"We deny that Indian troops had crossed the Line of Control in the Rampur sector or had violated the ceasefire.

"The fact is that in the early hours of January 6, Pakistan troops in the sector commenced unprovoked firing on Indian troops. The roof of a civilian house in Churunda village was damaged in the Pak mortar fire. Indian troops undertook controlled retaliation in response," the official spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said here.

"We also call upon the Pakistan authorities to ensure that the sanctity of the Line of Control is upheld at all times and to ensure that such incidents of unprovoked firing across the LoC do not recur," he said.

He also asserted that "India is strongly committed to the sanctity of the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir, which is the most important Confidence Building Measure (CBM) between the two countries. The ceasefire along the LoC, which has largely held since 2003, is an important element of this CBM. The Director Generals for Military Operations (DGsMO) of both sides have spoken to each other on the incident."

Claiming that Indian troops had allegedly crossed the LoC and "raided" a border post, Pakistan said its troops "effectively responded and repulsed the attack successfully".

The incident had resulted in the death of a Pakistani soldier and injuries to another, they also charged.

However, the Indian Army denied the incident and said "no such incident has taken place where our soldiers have attacked any Pakistani post."

Indian army sources also said this allegation by the Pakistani army seems to be an attempt to cover up its firing on Indian posts in Uri sector.

Pak Army attack on troops a provocative action: India

Terming the killing of two of its soldiers by Pakistan Army as a "provocative action", India on Tuesday said it will take up the issue with Islamabad.

"The Government of India considers the incident as a provocative action and we condemn it. Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two countries are in touch over it.

"The government will take up the incident with Pakistan Government. We expect Islamabad to honour the ceasefire agreement strictly," the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

However, the Army, while confirming the killing of Indian soldiers, did not comment on reports that they had been beheaded.

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