A family of five was celebrating their birthday on Thursday night with a meal of traditional Kerala fried chicken.
Their loved ones were killed in the Line of Control (LoC) in November, but the celebrations were peaceful until a few hours ago.
The family of three children had gathered at a local temple for a traditional meal on the eve of Diwali, when the news broke.
The five members of the family, including their mother and three brothers, had been celebrating their son’s birthday.
The family members, who are from Kerala’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh, were in their hometown of Aluva, near the LoC.
On Thursday, the family had gone to the local temple to celebrate the birthday of their father.
When they returned to the temple, they found that the place had been attacked by militants.
The militants have killed seven civilians and two soldiers, who were killed on November 15, 2017, in an attack on a village near the border with Bangladesh.
A militant group calling itself the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We went to the house where we were celebrating the birthday, but there were no signs of anyone there.
We went back to the place to find the dead bodies.
I have no idea why the army would kill our family members,” said Ramesh Kondapati, one of the five.
The deceased included his wife, their three children and his father, who was killed along with his two younger brothers.
The slain had left the temple before midnight on the day of the attack, Kondipati said.
The village is located just 30km from the Line at Baramulla in the district of Anantapuram.
The attack came two days after a Hindu temple in Anantipuram was attacked, killing more than 30 people.
The JI claimed responsibility.
On Wednesday, the district administration in the village was forced to ban the celebration of Diwan.
“We are very concerned and we are taking the matter very seriously,” Kondipali, the village administrator, said.
The local police chief also appealed to the JI to withdraw the attack on the village.
The JI, however, denied responsibility.
“JI has never planned any attack on any temple.
It was a local incident of local residents.
The incident is being investigated by local police, and no arrests have been made yet,” said a JI spokesperson.
Kondipi and other villagers were not the only ones to suffer a loss of life during the attack in the LoCP.
“My son and his brothers were killed.
We have lost so many people in this attack.
It’s very sad,” said Dinesh, who asked not to be named.
The attack was in retaliation for the killings of six people in a village on the LoCV, he said.
Konkuthi, a retired journalist, said the village has suffered from the loss of a lot of lives in recent years.
“This is a sad and painful chapter in the history of the region,” he said, adding that he has witnessed many similar incidents.
The LoC in Andhra is a porous border between India and Bangladesh.
In recent years, a number of incidents of militants firing from the LoCs have been reported.