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7 Pakistani soldiers killed along LoC in retaliatory firing, says Indian Army

Pakistani soldiers opened fire at Indian positions along the Line of Control in Poonch of Jammu and Kashmir

india Updated: Jan 16, 2018 07:17 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria, Jammu
Line of Control,LoC,Poonch
Border Security Force patrolling the India-Pakistan International Border at the outpost of Akhnoor sector.(HT File Photo)

The Indian Army said on Monday it killed seven Pakistani soldiers along the Line of Control in Mendhar sector of Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir in “retaliatory action” against an “unwarranted and inhumane act”, days after an Indian soldier died in cross-border firing.

Both the countries accused each other of violating the 2003 ceasefire agreement amid celebrations in India on its 70th Army Day and a warning from the Army chief that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism would be met with a “stronger” response from his force. Also Monday morning, at least five suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants planning to carry out a suicide mission were gunned down by security forces in Baramulla district, officials said.

The publicity wing of Pakistan’s army, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said four soldiers were killed and that they were busy with the maintenance of a communication line when they were “fired upon and hit by [a] heavy mortar round” in the Jandrot sector of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

ISPR also claimed that three Indian soldiers were killed and a “few injured” in the exchange of fire.

A post by the government of Pakistan on its Twitter handle also said four soldiers were killed and Islamabad summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh to lodge a protest.

A senior officer of the Indian Army’s Northern Command, however, denied there were casualties on its side as claimed by the ISPR.

“As per our count we have eliminated seven of their soldiers but we have not lost anybody,” he said on condition of anonymity. “Heavy calibre weapons were used by both the sides. The skirmishes that started around 9am lasted for a couple of hours on Monday,” he added.

On January 13, Pakistan army killed Lance Naik Yogesh Muralidhar Bhadane in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district. Bhadane was from Khalane village of Maharashtra’s Dhule district.

“Part of an Indian patrol, which was on its way to relieve its counterparts from a post in Sunderbani, was targeted and fired upon in which Bhadane was killed. Therefore, what followed on Monday morning could be gauged as our retaliation to their unwarranted and inhumane act,” said the officer.

Monday’s ceasefire violation by Pakistan came less than 24 hours after chief minister Mehbooba Mufti asked both India and Pakistan to have cordial relations for the sake of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who bear the maximum brunt of hostilities between the two countries.

Later in the day, travel between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) was suspended .

“Cross-LoC travel has been suspended after Pakistan shelling and firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and the tension that followed,” custodian of LoC Trade and Travel, Poonch, Mohammad Tanveer told PTI.

(With Agency inputs)

First Published: Jan 15, 2018 12:51 IST