Making a volte-face on its previous claim that the outfit’s militants had carried out the fatal attack on the Indian troops on the Line of Control (LoC) on August 6, Hizbul Mujahideen on Wednesday instead said that the five soldiers had died in the “infighting” between two Army units in the Poonch sector of Jammu.

“The statement issued previously regarding the killing of five Indian soldiers has not been proved correct. Fresh inputs from our field sources have established that the soldiers were killed when the troops of 20 Bihar Regiment and 14 Maratha Light Infantry fought each other during the change of guard,” Hizbul Mujahideen’s spokesman Saleem Hashimi said in a statement.

Mr. Hashimi claimed that the Indian Defence Minister had “full knowledge of the facts” but had chosen to blame the Pakistani army for “electoral considerations”.

“The Defence Minister made three conflicting statements on the killing of the troops. First he held militants from across the border responsible for the attack. Then he held both militants and the Pakistan army responsible for it, but in the third statement he put the whole blame on the Pakistani army,” the Hizb spokesman said.

Earlier this month, Hizb’s Pakistan-based “Supreme Commander” Syed Salahuddin had claimed that the gueurrillas of his organisation, and not the Pakistani army commandoes, had carried out the operation near Chakan Da Bagh.

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