Srinagar: The Army on Wednesday launched a massive counter- offensive against Pakistan in different sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir in “retribution” to the killing of three of its jawans by the neighbouring country’s commandos during an incursion a day before, officials said.
Brigadier General Staff (BGS) of Northern Command, Brig. P. S. Gotra said Indian Army launched a counter offensive along the LoC in retaliation to Wednesday cross-LoC attack in Machael sector of Kupwara district. Defence sources here said that Indian troops were targeting the Pakistani military posts in several sectors from Gurez in Kashmir Valley to Rajouri district of Jammu along the 740-km long LoC with artillery fire including 120mm mortars besides machine guns. They have also responded “strongly and befittingly” to the renewed firing and shelling from across the de facto border in Bhimber Gali, Krishna Ghati and Nowshera sectors of Poonch and Rajouri district, the sources said.
The Army said that the offensive is a direct message to Pakistan that mutilation of its soldiers is not acceptable and India's response will be quick and massive. Following the Indian offensive, Islamabad has requested for talks at the level of Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) between the two sides, a spokesman of the Ministry of Defence in New Delhi said.
The body of one of the slain Indian soldiers Rifleman Prabhu Singh was mutilated by severing the head in the cross-LoC attack by the members of Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) in Kupwara district’s Machael sector, the officials said. The other slain jawans are Grenadier Manoj Kumar and Rifleman Shashank Kumar Singh and all the three belonged to the Army’s Rashtriya Rifles and were in their mid twenties, a defence spokesman here said.
The authorities in Islamabad said that three Pakistan Army soldiers were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian troops near the LoC on Wednesday. Pakistan Army’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) identified them as Captain Taimoor Ali Khan, Havaldar Mushtaq Hussain and Lance Naik Ghulam Hussain. They, however, also claimed that seven Indian soldiers were slain in “return fire” by the Pakistani troops, the claim strongly refuted by the Indian Army authorities here.
However, the BSF said in Jammu that two of its jawans were injured in the latest ceasefire violation by the Pakistani troops along the LoC in Rajouri district on Wednesday. “Two BSF jawans suffered minor injuries in ceasefire violation by Pakistan troops in Bhimbher Gali area of Rajouri district at 9.45 am today,” a BSF spokesman said. A report from Jammu said that the BSF jawans were injured when a mortar shell landed on their post in Tarkundi area of Manjakote sub-sector midst Bhimbher pass. .
Earlier the government officials in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, had said that the Indian troops targeted a passenger bus in Lawat area near the LoC, killing nine people and injuring 11 others and that in a separate incident of Indian shelling in Nakyal and Tatta Pani areas close to the de facto border, one person was killed and seven others injured.
Meanwhile, intense exchanges of artillery fire between the facing troops have caused panic in the areas falling in close proximity of the India-Pakistan borders in Jammu and Kashmir including Gurez in the district of Bandipore and at many place people have started feeling towards safer locations....