Two soldiers were killed and several others were injured when two contingents of the army opened fire at each other in the militancy-hit south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Tuesday, in a case of mistaken identity.
The incident took place in the Tral area, which is more than 40km away from Srinagar and has seen a spurt in militancy in the recent months.
Srinagar-based army spokesperson Colonel Brijesh Pandey told HT that the incident took place after sundown.
"There was a tip-off about the presence of militants in the area. Two patrols operating in the same area mistook each other as militants. Two soldiers have died in the incident," Pandey said.
The deceased soldiers belong to the army's 42 Rashtriya Rifles. "It is a case of mistaken identity. An inquiry will be launched soon to find out what exactly happened," Pandey said.
The spokesperson said militants in Tral have started wearing army fatigues, leading to confusion. "It is difficult to differentiate between a friend and a foe in such a situation. In many confrontations, reaction time is always short," said Pandey.
A batch of fresh recruits of indigenous militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, headed by young commander Burhan Ahmad, wear army fatigues and march along jungles and orchards in the area. The army has launched operations to nab the commander, but failed so far.