Two military operations against infiltrators in north Kashmir entered its second day on Wednesday.
In a statement, a Srinagar-based army spokesperson confirmed that both the operations were ongoing, but refused to confirm the number of militant casualties.
“There was an infiltration bid by a group of 10 to 12 militants. We are not confirming the number of militants killed till the bodies have been retrieved and operation is over,” the spokesperson said.
However, sources in both police and the army confirmed that at least eight militants were killed when the army foiled an infiltration bid at Lacchipora in the Uri sector, a few kilometres from the 12 Brigade headquarters, where 18 soldiers were killed in a militant attack on Sunday.
The army spokesperson did not refute these reports.
In a press statement, the United Jihad Council, an alliance of Kashmiri militant groups, dismissed media reports about the killing of eight militant infiltrators as “a pack of lies”.
“It is a fabricated story aimed at diverting the world attention from the worst ever atrocities unleashed by India on Kashmiris,” the statement said.
One soldier was killed in a separate anti-infiltration operation in the Naugam sector of Kupwara district in north Kashmir, the army said.
Pakistani troops reportedly broke ceasefire to “distract” Indian soldiers to help the militants cross the Line of Control, the de-factor border with Pakistan.
An official in Srinagar said the firing from across the border lasted half an hour from 1:10 pm on Tuesday. No Indian posts were affected by the firing, which the army described as a violation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement.
The Indian offensive came amid a bitter war of words between New Delhi and Islamabad following the Uri attack, blamed on the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) by New Delhi.
In New Delhi, Union home minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir with top officials, including national security adviser Ajit Doval and foreign secretary S Jaishankar on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead a meeting of the cabinet committee on security on Wednesday to discuss the Uri attack. Sources said the three service chiefs are likely to participate.
Pakistan has denied India’s allegations of Islamabad’s complicity in the Uri attack, though the Indian army said it had recovered arms, ammunition, food and medicine packets with Pakistani markings.
Islamabad accuses New Delhi of using the attack to deflect attention from continued street protests in Kashmir following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani by security forces two months ago. More than 80 civilians have been killed in those protests.
Meanwhile, the bodies of the four militants killed in the Uri camp attack were buried on Monday, apparently to prevent public sympathy for them. The quick burials were in contrast to standard practice.
The militants were buried close to the garrison in Uri, though foreign militants in north Kashmir are usually buried at Kitchama graveyard, 25 km from the town.
The National Investigation Agency began its formal probe into the attack by registered a case on Tuesday.