Pakistan Army denies shooting Indian soldier across LoC

19 May 2008
The Daily Times

Srinagar: Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas has termed Indian military allegations of Pakistani troops killing an Indian soldier across the Line of Control (LoC) as baseless. “No firing from this side of any kind has taken place,” Abbas said, adding that military officials would pursue a meeting with their Indian counterparts to clarify the matter. The incident, in which one Indian army soldier died and two others were injured, was reported early on Monday in the Mendhar sector of Poonch district. “The soldier died in unprovoked firing from across the LoC,” an army spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Anil Kumar Mathur, told AFP. He said it was not clear whether it was militants trying to sneak into Kashmir or Pakistani troops who opened fire. “We are gathering more information,” he said. An Indian news agency reported a senior army officer in Poonch as saying that the troops of 2-8 Gorkha Rifles had noticed a group of armed militants trying to cut the fence wire dividing the borders of India and Pakistan. “The troops foiled the infiltration bid and in the ensuing encounter, one soldier lost his life,” said the officer. However, in Jammu, the army blamed Pakistan Rangers for opening unprovoked small arms fire, killing a soldier. Meanwhile, intelligence sources asserted that the death of the soldier had been the result of a battle between militants and the army. They alleged that this was the seventh militant infiltration attempt from the Pakistani side in the Mendhar sector. According to Reuters, this was the third such incident in Kashmir this month. It comes two days ahead of Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Pakistan for a review of a four-year-old peace process. Protest: The Indian army said the firing was unprovoked and they would lodge a protest. “Our troops observed restraint and we are ascertaining whether it was firing by militants or Pakistani soldiers,” spokesman Lieutenant Colonel SD Goswami said. “We have sought a flag meeting with the local commander to lodge our strong protest over the incident,” he added. “Pakistan is only responsible for this unprovoked attack,” he said.