The two soldiers who were killed and mutilated at the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday morning could have been lured to the spot and then ambushed, according to an NDTV report citing sources.
Top sources said preliminary inquiries indicate that a trap could indeed have been laid for the Border Security Force team that had gone there to check on a snapped communication line, according to the report.
Head Constable Prem Sagar and Naib Subedar Paramjeet Singh, who were part of the three-member team, were killed and their bodies were mutilated. The men behind the attack had crossed the Line of Control, the de facto border, under the cover of fire from the Pakistani army.
"It could have been a trap," said a one source. "It is yet to be established conclusively whether the lines were snapped due to Pakistani shelling or it was an act of sabotage," said another NDTV source.
While initial reports said the attackers belonged to Pakistan's Border Action Team, sources said early inquiry also suggests the involvement of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based terror group.
"Information is being gathered on who exactly carried out the dastardly act - Pakistan army regulars or a Lashkar unit with tactical support from the Pakistan army. But early inquiry suggests Lashkar," an official said.
Any involvement of Lashkar, even when they were assisted by the Pakistan army, will give Pakistan the benefit of "high deniability", say officials.
Pakistan has already denied violating ceasefire and its army has denied having any hand in the attack. Calling India's allegation "false", Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement, "Pakistan Army is a highly professional force and shall never disrespect a soldier, even Indian".
Defence minister Arun Jaitley has described the killings as "reprehensible and inhuman" and said such acts "do not take place even during war". The Indian Army has issued a warning, saying "such despicable act will be appropriately responded to".