The army said on Saturday it destroyed four Pakistani posts in a “massive” assault across the Line of Control in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, ratcheting up hostilities with the neighbour a day after an Indian soldier’s body was mutilated by militants.
“Four Pakistani posts have been destroyed in a massive fire assault in Keran sector,” an army official said.
Heavy casualties have been inflicted on the Pakistani side, he said, without giving further details.
The Indian strike is seen as a retaliation to ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in the Keran sector earlier in the day, in which one BSF jawan and a civilian woman were injured.
The de-facto border with Pakistan has remained tense since a militant attack on an army camp at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in September left 19 soldiers dead.
India retaliated by carrying out what the government termed “surgical strikes” across the LoC and destroyed several militant launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
A Border Security Force (BSF) trooper was killed on Friday in northern Kashmir’s Macchil sector in a freak accident while responding to a ceasefire violation.
BSF inspector general (Kashmir) Vikash Chandra said constable Nitin Subhash sustained grievous injuries by the recoil of a long-range weapon.
“Subhash… was admitted to a medical facility where he succumbed late last (Friday) night,” the official said.
Subhash’s death followed the killing of sepoy Mandeep Singh whose body was mutilated by militants close to the border in the same sector, sparking outrage in India with political leaders terming the act atrocious and depraved.
Indian security agencies suspect the militants to be from the JeM.
Sources said the Pakistani army provided cover to the militants that attacked Mandeep by firing on Indian positions.
The 30-year-old Mandeep’s family members on Saturday demanded that Pakistan be taught a lesson for harbouring terrorists, and former army officers expressed sadness over the incident.
His brother, Sandeep Singh, said the family wanted 10 Pakistani heads as revenge.
With ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops sparking panic in border villages, home minister Rajnath Singh assured the nation that security forces were giving “befitting reply” to firing from across border and that the country will not bow down before anyone.
“I want to assure the nation that the security forces are giving befitting reply to the firing from Pakistan. We will not bow down before anyone,” he told reporters in New Delhi.
Minister of state Jitendra Singh said nothing “can be more atrocious than this”.
“The human rights of soldiers should enjoy precedence over the human rights of anybody else. The longer Pakistan continues to be in denial mode the more it harms itself,” he said.
Congress’ Manish Tewari said the mutilation was an “absolutely depraved behaviour”.
“There are certain rules of engagement and conduct even in a conflict situation. Pakistan is expected to respect the rules of engagement,” he said.
Mandeep’s native village, Aantehri, in Haryana’s Kurukshetra went into mourning. Women flocked to the dead soldier’s house to console his widow, Prerna, who is a head constable with Haryana police. The couple had married two years ago.
“Pakistan should be taught a lesson once for all so that no other family of a soldier has to go through such pain,” Prerna said, breaking down several times.
With inputs from New Delhi, Kurukshetra and agencies