The army dismissed on Tuesday television news reports that India destroyed Pakistani bunkers and killed “several enemy” soldiers across the border in Jammu and Kashmir in a retaliatory attack after the beheading of a military officer and BSF head constable.
A senior officer with the army’s northern command said the reports were not true.
“There was no retaliation whatsoever by us in the KG sector on Monday night. They (TV channels) go ballistic without asking us anything. We will retaliate and when we do, we will come out with an official statement.”
Naib subedar Paramjit Singh, a 42-year-old junior commissioned officer with 22 Sikh Regiment, and 45-year-old head constable Prem Sagar of the BSF’s 200 Battalion were shot dead and their bodies mutilated in an ambush on a border patrol at the Krishna Ghati sector of Kashmir’s Poonch district on Monday morning.
The killing of Singh from Tarn Taran district in Punjab and Sagar of Takenpur in Uttar Pradesh evoked strong reaction across the nation, with many people demanding a fitting reply to what the government called a barbaric and inhuman act by neighbouring nation.
Several news channels reported on Tuesday that India bombed and destroyed Pakistani frontier posts and bunkers along the Line of Control, the de facto border between the two countries, to avenge the killing and mutilation of its soldiers.
The military spokesperson said: “A lot of planning goes into any army action. We will respond but at apt time and place.”
Even intelligence officials on the ground could not substantiate the TV reports.
“We have no such inputs of the army’s retaliation causing destruction of Pakistani bunkers and killing of soldiers. We are here on the ground. We didn’t even hear even a single gunshot on Monday night,” one of the officials said.
Such misreporting has happened before too. After the pre-dawn attack on an army camp in Kashmir’s border town Uri last September, which left 19 Indian soldiers dead, there were news reports of the army killing 10 Pakistan-based militants trying to enter the area.
The reports billed the killings as India’s “strike-back”.
But sources in the military headquarters in New Delhi denied the killing of “10 infiltrators” along the LoC. They said the media reports were “a flight of imagination”.
“We never said that army killed 10 terrorists. We simply said there was cross-border firing at two places along the LoC, including Uri,” a source said.