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Kashmir beheadings: India summons Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-05-2017 Elizabeth Roche

New Delhi: India on Wednesday summoned Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit to raise its protest at the mutilation of the bodies of two Indian security personnel killed earlier this week by the Pakistan military, after the latter opened fire along the Krishna Ghati sector in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district.

“Foreign Secretary (S. Jaishankar) conveyed India’s outrage at the killing and the barbaric act of mutilation of the bodies of the two Indian soldiers on 1 May, 2017 by Pakistan army personnel,” a statement from the Indian foreign ministry said.

The two Indian security personnel killed were an Indian army soldier and a Border Security Force (BSF) head constable.

“It was significant that the attack was preceded by covering fire from the Pakistani posts in Battal sector... Blood samples of Indian soldiers that have been collected and the trail of blood on Roza Nala clearly shows that the killers returned across the Line of Control (LoC, the de facto border dividing Kashmir into Indian and Pakistani administered halves),” the Indian statement said.

The killings have been blamed on the Border Action Team of Pakistan—a group suspected to comprise of a mix of Pakistan army regulars and militants—which operates close to the de facto line of control (LoC) border between the two countries.

The summoning of Basit comes a day after the director general of military operations (DGMO) of India warned his Pakistani counterpart in a telephonic conversation to rein in Border Action Teams that have in the past too ambushed Indian patrols close to the border in Kashmir and mutilated their bodies.

“The Indian Director General of Military Operations spoke to his counterpart in Pakistan and expressed grave concern about the incident of 1 May 2017 in Krishna Ghati sector opposite Pakistan administered Kashmir in Battal, wherein Pakistani Army targeted Indian patrol on Indian side of LoC and mutilated bodies of two soldiers. The Pakistani DGMO was also apprised that while undertaking this dastardly act, full fire support was provided by Pakistani Army Post located in vicinity of the incident site,” the Indian Army said in a statement on Tuesday.

Such inhuman acts were “beyond any norms of civility and merit unequivocal condemnation and response”, the statement said. Pakistan, meanwhile, has denied killing Indian soldiers or mutilating their bodies.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have been high in the past year after a string of attacks on Indian military establishments starting with Pathankot in January, followed by Uri in September and Nagrota in November.

A summer of unrest in Kashmir following the killing of Burhan Wani, a militant belonging to the Hizbul Mujahideen group in July at the hands of Indian security forces, did not help ties as Pakistan accused India of human rights violations in Kashmir and sent envoys to world capitals to highlight this. 

A ceasefire agreed to by the two countries in 2003 has seen many violations in the past year and talks between the two neighbours have been suspended since 2013. 

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