Srinagar: India has lodged a strong protest with the Pakistani foreign office a day after four soldiers, including a Captain, were killed in shelling by Pakistani troops in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also condemned the firing by Pakistan. "Have full faith in the valour of our soldiers, and they shall give proper reply," Mr Singh told reporters today.
People familiar with the matter told NDTV that the four soldiers died after a Pakistani mortar shell struck near the entrance to a bunker, which could not absorb the intensity of the blast.
The bodies of Captain Kapil Kundu, 22, Rifleman Ramavatar, 28, Rifleman Subham Singh, 22 and Havilder Roshan Lal, 42, will be sent to their hometowns after a tribute in Jammu.
"We will not forgive Pakistan's actions. It will prove to be Pakistan's foolishness and will cost them dearly," Hansraj Ahir, Minister of State Home Affairs said.
Pakistan intensified firing at Indian military posts and villages along the Line of Control or LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts on Sunday morning. A teenage girl and a soldier were also injured in Poonch.
"Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively and heavy damage has been inflicted on Pakistani Army posts," said a defence statement.
There have been 240 incidents of ceasefire violations along the LoC and the International Border in a little over a month this year, which is more than the violations in all of 2015 and 2016 at 152 and 228, respectively. Pakistani forces violated the ceasefire 860 times in 2017. Nine soldiers have died since January.
"Pakistan Army along the border has been supporting infiltration by terrorists," said Vice Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Sarath Chand.
The shelling has stopped for now and the forces are keeping a close watch. Over 80 schools in the district are closed and people have been told to stay indoors.
The Army said that Pakistan troops fired five or six anti-tank guided missiles indiscriminately in the area. The incident took place at an altitude of 3,000 feet in a densely forested part of the LoC in Bhimber Galli in the Rajouri district.
It was the second time in three days that the Pakistani Army targeted Poonch. They had attacked military and civilian facilities in nearly a dozen areas of the Balakote sector last week.