THE ARMY said on Friday that a soldier was killed and his body mutilated by terrorists in an encounter in Machhil sector of Kupwara district, near the Line of Control (LoC), in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday evening.
Stating that a terrorist was also killed in the incident, the Army warned of an “appropriate response”.
“In a despicable act, the terrorists mutilated the body of the Indian Army soldier before fleeing into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), supported by covering fire from Pakistan Army posts,” said a statement released by the Army’s Northern Command, headquartered in Udhampur.
“This act will invite an appropriate response,” said the statement. The Army said the incident reflected the barbarism that “pervades official and unofficial organisations across the border”.
The incident, which occurred under 53 Infantry Brigade, comes amid increasing border tension between India and Pakistan. Earlier on Friday, the Border Security Force (BSF) said that it had killed 15 Pakistani Rangers in retaliatory fire since the escalation of the situation at the border following the death of BSF constable Gurnam Singh, who was hit in a sniper attack on October 21 and died the next day. Pakistan, however, claimed that none of its personnel had been killed in border firing. A PTI report quoted the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) as saying that the “Indian claims of killing any Pakistani soldier at the working boundary is absolutely baseless and untrue”.
Meanwhile, a woman was among two civilians killed in mortar shelling along the LoC in Jammu and Poonch districts on Friday. The woman, identified as Isma Begum of Malikpur, is reported to have sustained splinter injuries in the head, during mortar shelling by Pakistani troops in Balakote sector of Poonch. The other victim has been identified as Ajay Kumar of Gigrial in Pallanwala sector near Akhnoor, in Jammu district.
Four others, including two girls and a woman, were injured during shelling along the International Border in Kathua district of Jammu region. The injured have been identified as Bawa Ram, 31, from Berra village, Sheetal Devi, 12, and Reeta Devi, 35, both from Pansar, and Zanif, 6, from Manyari.
Speaking to mediapersons after paying tribute to head constable Jitender Singh, who died in firing from across the border at Abdullian in R S Pura sector on Thursday, BSF Additional Director General Arun Kumar said they had killed 15 Pakistani Rangers so far. He said the Pakistani Rangers were being assisted by the Pakistani Army. “Under the cover of fire, they were also trying to push in terrorists. We have foiled two such attempts in recent days,” he said, adding that the BSF was giving a befitting reply and had inflicted heavy damage on the other side.
According to sources, nearly half-a-dozen Pakistani posts in Shakkergarh, Narowal and Chaprar areas have been damaged during retaliatory shelling by BSF. A defence ministry spokesperson, Lt Colonel Manish Mehta, said Pakistani troops were using “small arms, automatics, 82 mm and 120 mm mortars” in Pallanwala, Sunderbani and Akhnoor sectors. The Indian Army was “responding appropriately and befittingly”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Army said a soldier was killed while foiling an infiltration bid near the LoC, in Tangdhar sector on Thursday.