Pakistani troops have slit the throat of a BSF jawan and gouged his eyes out after fatally shooting him along the international border (IB) near Jammu, officials said on Wednesday.
The brutal and "unprecedented" incident that took place in the Ramgarh sector on Tuesday has prompted the security forces to issue a "high alert" across the IB and Line of Control (LoC) even as the Border Security Force has lodged a strong complaint with its counterparts -- the Pakistan Rangers.
Official sources said the body of Head Constable Narender Kumar also bore three bullet wounds and it could only be retrieved from a spot ahead of the Indo-Pak fence after over six hours as the Pakistani side "did not respond" to the calls to maintain the sanctity of the frontier and ensure that the BSF search parties were not fired upon.
The Pakistan Rangers, the sources said, was asked to take part in a joint patrolling to trace the missing jawan, but they only came up to a certain point and cited waterlogging problems in the area that prevented them from undertaking a coordinated action.
The BSF then waited for the sun to set and launched a "risky operation" to bring the jawan's body back to the post by "late evening".
Officials in the security establishment 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 and the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) were also expected to take up the issue with their Pakistani counterparts.
They added that since the BSF patrol party that went ahead of the fence to cut the tall "sarkanda" (elephant) grass was first fired upon at 10.40 am on Tuesday, hectic phone calls and communication exchanges went on from the Indian side to across the border in order to locate the jawan, who was first declared missing.
While the BSF did not comment on the developments, sources said the force 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," an official said.
The jawan was killed on the spot after he was hit by a fatal sniper shot from across the border, he added. The BSF's Jammu frontier had yesterday issued a statement on the incident but did not mention anything about the hacking.
"A BSF party that was on domination patrolling ahead of the fence was fired upon. The BSF troops immediately took position and retaliated but the enemy bullets hit a jawan. The area on the Pakistani side has a protective bundh close to the IB," the force had said in the statement.
It had added that the area on the Indian side was undulated, marshy and had a thick "sarkanda" growth that made tracing the location of the felled jawan difficult.
The incident came a day after Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the maiden "smart fence" project of the BSF in Jammu on Monday that aims to deploy smart technology and gadgets to secure the vulnerable patches on the Indo-Pak border.