November 2016 News

Militants Mutilate Soldier's Body, Kill 2 Others In Ambush

22 November 2016
The Hindu

Srinagar: Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up on Tuesday with the killing of three jawans and mutilation of one of them, amid continuing exchange of fire between the two armies along the Line of Control. The Indian Army warned of 'heavy retribution' for the 'cowardly act.' While Army sources insisted that a group of terrorists, infiltrating under cover fire provided by the Pakistan Army, carried out the action, local sources said it was an operation by the Border Action Team of the Pakistan Army. The three soldiers belonged to 57 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) unit of 53 Infantry Brigade. They were part of a counter-infiltration patrol when they were ambushed near Lashdut post in Machhil sector of north Kashmir's Kupwara, more than 100 km from Srinagar. 'The body of one soldier mutilatedretribution will be heavy for this cowardly act,' tweeted the Additional Directorate-General of Public Information, Ministry of Defence. A senior Army officer in Delhi said, 'Our forces were pinned down as the terrorists were provided cover fire by Pakistan. This facilitated their escape.' It is a forest area and there is also fog, which creates confusion, he added. The killings were followed by heavy exchange of fire and shelling in the Machhil sector's Rigser Payeen, Dana Machhil and Ashni posts till late Tuesday afternoon. This was the second mutilation of an Indian soldier, ever since tensions between the two sides flared up after the attack on an Army unit in Uri on September 18. Pakistan has denied the Indian claims of mutilation. In retaliation, Indian Army carried out surgical attacks on terrorist launch pads located inside POK on September 29. On October 28, the Army said infiltrating terrorists mutilated the body of a soldier before fleeing into POK as Pakistani Army posts provider covering fire. The latest incident comes amidst continuing Ceasefire Violations across both LOC and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir, which has forced thousands of border villagers to shift out to safety, while contributing significantly to the ongoing negative slide in bilateral relations. Since the surgical strikes by the Indian Army, at least 18 security personnel have been killed in Pakistani cross-border firing or other operations at the border. This includes 13 Army personnel along the LoC and five personnel of the Border Security Force which guard the International Boundary (IB). Later in the day Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was briefed on the situation by senior army officers. Army sources said that Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat briefed Mr. Parrikar on the incident and the prevailing situation there. When Sepoy Mandeep Singh was similarly mutilated on October 29 in the same sector, the Army had warned that the 'despicable act' would invite an 'appropriate response.' The very next day, the Army claimed to have destroyed four Pakistani posts in the Keran sector along the LoC and 'inflicted heavy casualties' in a massive fire assault. On November 14 last week, Pakistan in a rare acknowledgement had said seven of its soldiers were killed in firing by the Indian Army in the Bhimber sector on its side of the border.