Pakistan kills, mutilates two Indian soldiers, army calls incident ‘despicable’
Pakistani forces killed two Indian soldiers and mutilated their bodies after a targeted attack on frontier posts in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday morning — an act the army described as despicable and promised appropriate response.
The slain soldiers were naib subedar Paramjit Singh, a junior commissioned officer (JCO) with the army’s 22 Sikh Regiment, and head constable Prem Sagar of the BSF’s 200 Battalion.
The 42-year-old Singh was from a village in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district, while Sagar was a native of Deoria in Uttar Pradesh.
The government strongly condemns this barbaric act and the country has full confidence and faith in the armed forces, which will react appropriately, defence minister Arun Jaitley said.
“This is a reprehensible and an inhuman act. Such attacks don’t happen even during a war, let alone peace … The sacrifice of these soldiers will not go in vain.”
The army’s northern command said the Pakistanis fired mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades, and heavy machine guns at Indian posts in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district along the Line of Control, the de facto border between the two countries.
The shelling provided cover fire to members of the Border Action Team (BAT) — allegedly made up of a mix of Pakistani army regulars and militants. They attacked a 10-man Indian patrol comprising soldiers from 22 Sikh Regiment and the BSF.
Sources said the Pakistani rogue squad struck within 200 metres inside the Indian side of the LoC. The soldiers were patrolling across the border fence.
“Pak army carried out unprovoked rocket and mortar firing on two forward posts ... Simultaneously a BAT action was launched on a patrol operating between the two posts. In an unsoldierly act by the Pak army, the bodies of two of our soldiers in the patrol were mutilated,” the army statement said.
Singh, the senior-most member of the squad, was leading the patrol.
The Pakistani army denied mutilating the bodies, saying theirs is a “highly professional force and will never disrespect a soldier”.
“Pakistan Army did not commit any ceasefire violation on LoC as alleged by India. Indian blame of mutilating Indian soldiers’ bodies is also false,” a statement from the neighbouring country’s inter-services public relations wing said.
Other than Singh and Sagar, another two BSF soldiers came under attack but they survived. Constable Rajender Kumar was one of the wounded, while the other’s identity is yet to be revealed.
The Pakistani army has violated a 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two countries 65 times in four months this year.
Sources said Pakistan’s 647 Mujahid Battalion, deployed on the forward defence line, was responsible for the firing that began at 8.25am.
At least four rocket-propelled grenades and bursts of automatic weapons were fired towards the Kripan-1 outpost, manned by the BSF. Indian soldiers retaliated with automatic weapons at 8.40am, officials said. The firing lasted almost an hour.
“It was a pre-planned operation of the Pakistani army. They had pushed BAT members into India and set up ambushes to carry out the attack,” a senior army officer said.
Border skirmishes and mutilation of Indian soldiers are not a new thing, but it’s a first this year after two incidents last October and November. The BAT wasn’t involved in October, though.
Militants crossed the LoC on the night of October 28, killed Mandeep Singh and hacked the 30-year-old sepoy’s body in the Macchil sector of Kashmir’s Kupwara district. The Pakistan army provided the militants cover fire.
Almost a month later, Pakistanis killed three soldiers and savagely cut to pieces one of the bodies, prompting the Indian Army to vow retribution.
The BAT is accused of killing and mutilating the body of lance naik Hemraj, and beheading lance naik Sudhakar Singh in 2013. Earlier in 2008, a soldier of the 2/8 Gorkha Rifles lost his way and was captured by BAT in the Kel sector. His body was found beheaded a few days later.