Just a couple of hours after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh accused Pakistan of not changing its mindset and continuing to indulge in hostile activities on the borders even after installation of the new regime of Imran Khan, Pakistan troops gave another severe blow to the Indo-Pak relations. They brutally killed an injured BSF soldier, Head Constable Narender Kumar, after abducting him at the International Border (IB) in the Ramgarh sector near Jammu.

Photographs of the deceased jawan’s body circulated on social media on Wednesday show his throat had been slit and eyes gouged out. The Pakistan Rangers threw his body on the Indian side of the IB on Tuesday evening.

The jawan had been reported missing on Tuesday morning after Pakistan troops indulged in unprovoked firing.

The brutal and “unprecedented” incident has prompted the security forces to issue a “high alert” across the IB and Line of Control (LoC). The Border Security Force is learnt to have lodged a strong complaint with the Pakistan Rangers.

The incident comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendera Modi is said to be looking for ways to bring about a thaw in the diplomatic relations of the two countries, and also just a few hours before India and Pakistan are set to play their first match at the Asia Cup cricket tournament being held in Dubai.

A press release issued by the BSF late Tuesday evening had not mentioned the brutal killing. It said Pakistan troops resorted to unprovoked firing around 10:40 am on 18 September and “a BSF party which was on domination patrolling ahead of Fence was fired upon”.

When contacted, no officer of the BSF confirmed or denied reports about the Border Action Team (BAT) of Pakistan having kidnapped the injured jawan and committed brutality on him after taking away his weapon.

It was however learnt later that the BSF has raised the issue with the Pakistan Rangers at the sector level. According to reports, the BSF has urged the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) to raise the issue with Pakistan at its level.

Quoting officials in the security establishment, a PTI report said the incident of brutality with the jawan, probably a first at the IB, was taken “very seriously” by the government and the Ministry of External Affairs. The officials said the DGMO was expected to take up the issue with Pakistan Rangers.

They said hectic phone calls and communication exchanges with Pakistan Rangers went on throughout the day in order to locate the body of the jawan, who was first declared missing.

The BSF press release issued on Tuesday had said: “BSF troops immediately took position and retaliated but the enemy bullets hit a BSF jawan. The area on Pak side has a protective bundh close to IB. Own side area is undulated, marshy and having thick sarkanda growth. It made the immediate locating of the felled jawan difficult. The situation was brought under control by BSF and ultimately the body of the BSF Jawan was recovered by late evening. Further action on clearing the area of any likely IED, Booby Trap, etc  being taken by BSF troops.”

During medical examination, according to reports, several wounds were found on Kumar’s body indicating that he was brutally tortured before being killed. Initial reports suggested he was killed after being hit by a sniper fire from across the IB.

Quoting sources, the PTI report also said the BSF had alerted all its formations along the IB and informed the Army to be vigilant at the LoC.

“The body of the jawan bears three bullet injuries and his throat has been slit. This is an unprecedented action that has happened with the Indian forces along the IB and the Pakistani troopers are behind this. The BSF and other forces will undertake a counter-action at a suitable time,” said an official.

While inaugurating the pilot project of laser fencing on the IB in Jammu on Monday, Rajnath had told mediapersons that Pakistan was not mending its ways even after installation of Imran Khan as the new Prime Minister. Rajnath was not hopeful of Pakistan changing its mindset against India. Immediately after taking over reins in Pakistan, Imran Khan had said he would take steps to improve relations with India.

(With PTI inputs)