In a cross-Line of Control attack by suspected Pakistani terrorists, three Indian soldiers were killed, with body of one of them being mutilated in second such incident in less than a month, triggering outrage in this country.
The ambush on army patrol took place in Machhil sector of Kashmir, following which the Indian Army vowed heavy "retribution".
"A counter-infiltration patrol party of Indian army was ambushed by terrorists ahead of the fencing along LoC in forest belt in Machhil sector in Kupwara district today," a senior army officer said.
Three soldiers were killed in the attack, he said, adding the body of one of them was mutilated.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was briefed by Vice Chief of Army Lt Gen Bipin Rawat about the killing.
Condemning the incident, Parrikar tweeted, "Condemn the cowardly & brutal killing of our soldiers & mutilation of one of them. Salute these brave martyrs for their supreme sacrifice."
Earlier, Army's Northern Command spokesman tweeted, "3 soldiers killed in action on LC (Line of Control) in Machhal. Body of one soldier mutilated."
He said the "retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act."
A defence spokesman said heavy cross-Line of Control shelling was going on at four places in Machhil sector from 3.30 pm.
"Around 1530 hour, heavy cross-LoC shelling has started from both sides at Dana Machhil, Ashni, Ringsar and Ringsar Payeen in Machhil sector of Kupwara district," he said.
Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh also protested the incident to Pakistan when its deputy high commissioner was summoned by the foreign office in Islamabad to condemn "unprovoked ceasefire violations".
Singh, who was called in by Director General (South Asia and SAARC) Mohammad Faisal, also conveyed that Pakistani troops were deliberately targeting the civilian areas, resulting in heavy casualties.
Sources said he also took up the issue of repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces as well as their usage of artillery and 120 mm heavy mortars.
Pakistani forces were giving cover fire to infiltrators and there was increased activity of terrorists near the Pakistani posts, Singh told the Pakistani side.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has rejected India's charges as "false" and "baseless".
Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria in a series of tweets said the reports about the mutilation were aimed at maligning Pakistan.
"Pakistan strongly rejects the false & baseless Indian media reports regarding the alleged mutilation of an Indian solider on the LoC. These reports are a fabrication and a blatant attempt to malign Pakistan," he said.
Zakaria said as a professional force, Pakistan Army isn't involved in any such "unethical & non-professional" activity.
He said the Pakistan Army never supported any such action.
However, he said, Pakistan is fully prepared and ready to respond to any misadventure across the LoC, Working Boundary or the International Border.
This is the second such incident of mutilation of the body of an Indian soldier in the same sector since October 28.
On that day, terrorists, aided by the cover fire by Pakistani Army, had crossed the Line of Control and killed an Indian army jawan and mutilated his body in the Macchil sector. One attacker was killed in that incident.
In June 2008, a soldier of the 2/8 Gorkha Rifles lost his way and was captured by a Pakistani Border Action Team in Kel sector. His body was found beheaded after a few days.