May 1, 2017 / 11:16 AM / 5 months ago

India says two soldiers killed, mutilated in Pakistani attack

SRINAGAR, India, May 1 (Reuters) - Pakistani soldiers killed two members of an Indian army patrol on the de facto border in the disputed Kashmir region on Monday and then mutilated their bodies, the Indian army said, vowing to exact revenge.

Accusations that Pakistani forces have mutilated dead Indian soldiers have in the past outraged the Indian public and intensified demands for retribution.

The Indian army said Pakistani forces fired rockets and mortar bombs at two Indian posts on the Line of Control dividing Muslim-majority Kashmir between the two sides, in the Krishna Ghati sector.

“In a unsoldierly act by the Pak army the bodies of two of our soldiers in the patrol were mutilated,” the Indian army said in a statement, referring to Pakistani forces.

“Such despicable act of Pakistan army will be appropriately responded.”

There was no immediate response from the Pakistan army and Reuters was not in a position to independently verify the authenticity of the Indian account.

It was also not immediately clear what led to the latest clash between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

The armies have been facing off for decades across the Line of Control, an old ceasefire line through the region that both countries claim in full but rule in part.

Recently, a 2003 ceasefire in the region has frayed with sporadic cross-border firing.

Both sides have accused each of violating the ceasefire and of beheading soldiers in the past. In November, three Indian soldiers were killed in an ambush, and the body of one of them was mutilated, the Indian army said at the time.

Peace talks between the two countries have been on hold for years and diplomatic engagement is at a minimum.

India accuses Pakistan of backing Islamist militants and encouraging them to attack Indian forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir and, occasionally, in other parts of India.

Pakistan denies that and says India must hold negotiations on the future of Kashmir. (Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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