- 5 men of Pakistan's Border Action Team (BAT) were killed
- They were trying to infiltrate into India, Army said
- Jammu and Kashmir was put on alert on Friday
The Indian Army has asked Pakistan to take back the bodies of five intruders who were shot dead in Jammu and Kashmir's Keran sector this week. The five men of Pakistan's Border Action Team or BAT were killed while they were trying to infiltrate into India and strike a forward post in the Keran sector, the Indian Army said on Saturday. Heavy cross-border firing is continuing in Keran sector, sources said.
Sources said the Pakistan Army has been asked to approach with white flags to take charge of the bodies for last rites.
The Pakistan Army, however, said it is "mere propaganda" and that India was "trying to divert attention of the world from the situation of Kashmir". A statement from Pakistan's Foreign Office said, "We reject Indian allegations of cross-LOC action by Pakistan and possession of bodies".
Images released to the press showed the bodies of intruders lying on the Indian side of the Line of Control. BATs usually try to maim or mutilate Indian soldiers by ambushing them.
The incident, known to have taken place within the last two days, comes amid heightened security in the state that has also triggered an unprecedented advisory to pilgrims and tourists to leave the state immediately.
Intelligence sources said terrorists have made multiple attempts over three days - from July 29 to July 31 to cross the Line of Control and around four to five of them have succeeded. The plan is to carry out a terror strike on Amarnath pilgrims, similar to the February attack in Pulwama and four to five of them managed to infiltrate into India, sources said.
Sources also said under the circumstances, it was untenable to allow the pilgrims to continue. Around 35,000 security personnel have been deployed in the state over the last week.
Pilgrims travelling to the cave shrine, nearly 50 km from Pahalgam, have come under attack four times earlier. The worst of these was in 2000, when 32 pilgrims were killed and more than 60 injured in a single attack on the base camp at Pahalgam.
Attacks on pilgrims also took place in 2001, 2002 and 2017. In July 2017, seven pilgrims died and 19 were injured as terrorists opened fire on a bus in which the pilgrims were returning after visiting the shrine.
Jammu and Kashmir was put on alert on Friday, with the government asking pilgrims and tourists to leave the state immediately. The advisory also said a landmine and a sniper rifle have been found on the route of the pilgrimage.
The unprecedented alert and the massive build-up of paramilitary forces have pushed Jammu and Kashmir to the edge and fuelled rumours about a change in Article 35A of the Constitution that gives the state its special status.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik's efforts to allay speculation, that there no change was being planned to the special status of the state, have not convinced the political leadership in the state.