Pak escalates border tension, targets 40 BOPs; 12 injured
JAMMU: Even as Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire thrice by targeting 40 Border Out Posts and 25 border hamlets with heavy mortar shells in Jammu sector and LoC areas in Poonch, leaving nine persons injured, the three service chiefs met Defence Minister Arun Jaitley late during the day.
The army, air force and navy chiefs are understood to have discussed with Jaitley the prevailing security situation, defence officials said here.
The meeting comes at a time when there have been frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) and the talks between Army officials of the two sides have failed to defuse the situation.
Meanwhile, in a stern warning to Pakistan, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked her to put an end to firing and ceasefire violations saying if such breach continues, the army and every youth of this country will give a befitting reply.
Addressing an election rally here, 460 km from Mumbai, Singh also accused the previous UPA Government of adopting a soft approach towards Pakistan as he raked up the issue of tension along the International Border and Line of Control.
He said Pakistan’s violation of ceasefire became habitual because of the Congress regime.
“But now it has been conveyed in no uncertain terms to Pakistan that ground realties in India have changed.
“Pakistan should think twice before indulging in any ceasefire violation as the government is being headed by Narendra Modi in India,” he told the rally.
If the violations continue, the army and every youth of this country are ready to give a befitting reply to Pakistan and the same has been conveyed in no uncertain terms, he said. In Jammu and other areas, anti-Pakistan protests agitations in protest against the firing and shelling.
Defence Spokesman Lt Col Maneesh Mehta said Pakistani troops opened fire with small arms in Balnoie forward belt along LoC in Poonch District around 2:20 PM. The army retaliated effectively and the exchange of fire is going on in the area, he said, adding there was no loss of life or injury to anyone on the army side.
In another ceasefire violation, Pakistan Rangers resorted to firing and mortar shelling in Arnia town this morning, a police officer said.
A shell also exploded near the compound wall of a police station in Arnia, leaving seven persons injured, the police officer said.
The injured were identified as Krishan Lal son of Ram Rakha, Sham Lal son of Sain Dass, Pankaj Kumar son of Bodh Raj, Dwarka Nath son of Om Parkash, Gian Chand son of Tota Ram, Kiran Bala wife of Sham Lal and Seemi Devi wife of Gian Chand all residents of Arnia.
“Pakistani Rangers had fired mortars and opened heavy fire on BSF posts along the International Border since 9:00 PM last night”, BSF Spokesman Vinood Yadav said.
“As many as 40 BSF BoPs were affected by the fire from Pakistan side”, Yadav said, adding that firing and shelling was targeted on areas along the IB in Arnia, R.S Pura, Kanachak and Pargwal sub-sectors along IB in Jammu and Samba districts.
He said almost all the BSF posts in Kanachak and Pargwal were targeted by the Pakistan Rangers.
“BSF posts in Arnia and R.S Pura Sub-sectors were also targeted by the enemy,” the Spokesman said.
“BSF troops at all the places gave a strong and befitting reply to the firing from Pakistan”, the spokesman said, adding that firing in some places, particularly Pargwal is still on.
“There is no loss of life or damage to BSF “, he said.
There has been heavy firing and mortar shelling on 20 to 25 border hamlets along the International Border in Arnia, R.S Pura, Pargwal, Ganjansoo and Kanachak belts of Jammu district since last night, District Magistrate, Jammu, Ajeet Kumar Sahu told PTI. Meanwhile, JCO among 3 injured in fresh Pak ceasefire violation in Poonch.
Seven persons have been injured in the firing in Jammu border areas and have been hospitalised.
According to ST News Service, firing also started in Hiranagar Sector besides Pansar and Maniyari villages while Londi, Check Dulma, Pahadpur, Sucrhgarh, Chilyari , Baingalrh, Glad, Kanachak, Pargwal also remained on Pakistan’s target radar. The continuous shelling forced the shifting of border villagers of Samba to safety.
Migration also started from Border villages of Hiranagar with villagers of Pansar, Pahadpur and Manyari shifting their families to safer areas as firing resumed late in the evening.
In view of the firing, over 1,000 people were shifted to camps overnight.
There have been nine ceasefire violations along the LoC and eight along the IB in Jammu. These include seven in Poonch along LoC, eight along International Border in Jammu and two in Gulmarg sector of Kashmir.
Six persons have been killed and 50 others including BSF jawan injured in Pakistani shelling and firing along LoC and IB in Jammu and Poonch Districts in the ceasefire violations this month.
Protest demonstrations, meanwhile, continued in Jammu for the second consecutive day today against the ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
The Youth Wing of the Nationalist Congress Party held a protest demonstration against the violation.
BJP workers also held protest demonstrations against the firing at Manyari border belt of Samba District. (PTI)