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Intruder killed in Poonch was a member of Pakistan’s Border Action Team: Army

The body of the heavily armed intruder was recovered from Khari Karmara area in Poonch, defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand said after the army foiled the infiltration bid.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2018 23:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jammu
An intelligence official said three Indian Army soldiers sustained minor injuries in the exchange of fire.(PTI File Photo)

An intruder eliminated along the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district late on Sunday was part of the Border Action Team (BAT), a Pakistani unit blamed for gruesome attacks across the de facto border, the Indian army has said.

The body of the heavily armed man was recovered from Khari Karmara area in Poonch, defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand said after the army foiled a terror group’s attempt to intrude into India under the cover of “unprovoked and indiscriminate” firing by Pakistani soldiers on Sunday.

“Around 1715 hours (5.15 pm) on Sunday evening, the Pakistan army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatics and mortars – engaging Indian troops deployed in forward posts along the LoC. Our troops responded with retaliatory fire in equal measure,” said Lt Colonel Anand.

The troops noticed some movement in the area and immediately engaged the terror group, the spokesperson claimed. “There was immediate retaliation from the armed intruders. The covering fire from Pakistani Army posts continued unabated. In the firefight that ensued, one armed intruder was killed and at least two others – who sustained grievous injuries – were seen returning to the Pakistani post,” he added.

Subsequent search and sanitisation operations resulted in the discovery of a man’s body, clad in combat fatigues. They also recovered three live rocket-propelled grenades, four disposable rocket launchers, two IKOM radio sets, one AK magazine, two molotov cocktails, four UBGL grenades, seven hand grenades, a PIKA belt, a mobile phone, three back packs, medical satchels and the Pakistan national flag from the spot, the officer said.

Confirming the development, an intelligence officer said that the group was observed 100 metres inside Indian territory near an army post. “The troops opened fire, to which the infiltrators retaliated. A rocket-propelled grenade was also fired at the post by the terrorists,” he added.

Three Indian soldiers who sustained minor injuries in the exchange of fire were evacuated to the 425 field hospital in Poonch, the officer said, adding that one of them sustained a head injury. The modus operandi adopted by Pakistan army and its affiliate terrorists in this instance was similar to previous attempts at Keri, Gambir and Sunjuwan, he added.

Another army officer said regular Pakistan soldiers and special service group members abetted this operation by non-state actors. The rich haul of weapons recovered from the spot clearly indicate the implicit support of the Pakistan army to target Indian establishments while maintaining a degree of deniability, he added.

“It is not understood how Pakistan’s non-state actors are regularly sacrificed to fulfil their army’s agenda,” the officer said. “After Sunjuwan incident, Pakistan has refused to accept the bodies of their citizens – the three Jaish terrorists being a case in point. Nevertheless, we will still try offering the body of the armed intruder killed in Poonch on Sunday to them.”

The officer went on to state that this attempt has “quashed” Pakistan’s claim of establishing “watertight arrangements along the LoC to check terrorist movement”. He was referring to a statement by Pakistan army chief Qamar Bajwa during a security conference in Munich on Sunday that there were no safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan, and the US should stop blaming Islamabad for its failure to establish peace in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has been supporting terrorism in a systematic manner with the help of its army,” the officer said.

Pakistan has repeatedly failed to fulfil ceasefire agreements signed in November 2003 and January 2004, which requires it to not allow “terrorists to use territory under its control against India”.

“It is clear that Pakistan has never been interested in establishing peace and stability across Jammu and Kashmir. They have been vitiating the atmosphere both along the LoC and the hinterlands. But the ‘White Knight Corps’ is keeping a strict vigil along the border,” the officer said.

Twenty people — 11 security personnel and nine civilians — have been killed and over 75 wounded in Pakistani shelling along the LoC and the international border in Jammu division since the beginning of this year.

India accuses Pakistan of training and arming militants, besides helping them infiltrate across the heavily militarised LoC. Islamabad denies the charge.

First Published: Feb 19, 2018 13:08 IST