Did Pakistanis behead Indian soldiers?

Did Pakistanis behead Indian soldiers?

Although the military is not saying it, Indian civilian officials say that Pakistani soldiers killed and slit the throats of two Indian soldiers a day earlier.

A senior administrative official in Poonch told IANS that a group of Pakistani soldiers from 29 Baloch regiment laid an ambush near Sona Gali post close to the Line of Control (LoC).

He said they attacked four Indian soldiers who were moving from one border post to another. "The raiding Pakistani soldiers slit the throats of two Indian soldiers, injured one more and took away the weapons of the victims," the officer told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

The incident happened at about 12.30 p.m. Tuesday in Mendhar sector of Poonch district, about 250 km northwest of Jammu.  The Pakistanis are said to have infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir under the cover of a thick fog in the forested area.

Indian Army sources said the Indian post where the killings took place was just ahead of a barbed wire fence. The army has erected a three-tier fence in Indian territory running along the LOC, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

The fence is about 500 metres to two kilometres inside Indian territory, and seeks to prevent intrusion from Pakistan. But the army is officially not saying anything on beheading of the Indian soldiers, identified as Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh.

It has been officially stated by the army that one of the bodies of the soldiers was "badly mutilated". But no army official is ready to say what really happened.

Lt. Col. Rajesh Kalia, the Public Relation Officer of the Northern Command headquartered at Udhampur, said in a statement Tuesday evening that there had been "a significant escalation to the continuing series of ceasefire violations" along the LoC.

The statement added that a group of Pakistani soldiers intruded across the LoC taking advantage of a thick fog and mist in the forested area. An Indian military patrol spotted them and engaged the intruders, the gun battle lasting for about half hour after which the intruders retreated.

"Two soldiers ... laid down their lives while fighting the Pak(istani) troops."

The statement added: "This is yet another grave provocation by Pakistan Army which is being taken up sternly through official channels." According to other army sources, the Pakistani troops resorted to heavy firing targeting Indian posts in the Krishnaghati sector in Poonch district Tuesday evening.

The Indian Army hit back but there was no report of any casualty on the Pakistani side. Senior officers of 16 Corps and the Northern Command visited the area for on the spot assessment Wednesday. Review meetings are on.

India and Pakistan have largely observed a ceasefire along the LoC since 2003.

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