Soldier, eight infiltrators killed in two separate Kashmir encounters
An Indian soldier was killed and at least eight suspected intruders were shot dead as the army battled two groups of militants along the border with Pakistan on Tuesday, two days after an attack on a military camp in Kashmir.
Troops also exchanged fire with Pakistani soldiers in the Uri sector, close to the army’s 12 Brigade headquarters which was attacked by militants on Sunday. The attack left 18 troopers dead and more than 20 injured.
“Two infiltration bids by militants from across the Line of Control (LoC) have been foiled in Uri and Naugam sectors today (Tuesday),” an army spokesperson said, adding the gunfights were on.
One soldier was killed in the Naugam sector, he said.
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.
The army also said Pakistani troops were “distracting” Indian soldiers with cover fire to help the militants along the LoC, the de-facto border, sneak into the country.
An official in Srinagar said the firing from across the border lasted half an hour from 1.10pm. There was no damage from the firing that the army described as a violation of a 2003 ceasefire agreement.
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.
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.
(With agency inputs)