JAMMU, Aug 12: As Independence Day drew near, tensions have again escalated on the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, whose troops resorted to heavy mortar shelling and firing targeting forward defence locations and civilian areas on the Line of Control (LoC) in Mendhar and Krishna Ghati sectors of Poonch district in which an Army jawan and a woman were martyred while another jawan was injured. As usual, the Indian side retaliated very effectively decimating three Pakistani posts and bunkers, which were engaged in targeting civilian population in the area.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Pakistan army initiated unprovoked firing in Indian Army posts in Mankote area of Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district at 5 pm today. The Indian side retaliated strongly and effectively.
Click here to watch video
In the exchange of firing, Naib Subedar Jagram Singh Tomar and Sepoy Mohit Kumar were injured. Tomar later succumbed to grievous injuries sustained by him in the firing.
Tomar, aged 42 years, belonged to village Tarsana in Porsa area of Morena district of Madhya Pradesh and is survived by his wife Omawati Devi, one son and one daughter.
“Naib Subedar Jagram Singh Tomar, was a brave and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,’’ a Defence spokesman said.
Injured Army jawan Sepoy Mohit Kumar has been hospitalized.
The firing lasted about 40 minutes and stopped from Pakistan side after heavy retaliatory firing brought down by the Indian troops, sources said.
Meanwhile, mortar shelling by Pakistan in Mendhar sector early today, though for a brief period, was very intense with mortar shells raining just 200 meters from Mendhar town, causing panic among the civilians living in the border villages as shells were falling very close to their houses.
However, the shelling that started at 5.15 am ended at 6.25 am after three posts and bunkers of Pakistan army, which were engaged in firing mortars in the civilian areas of Mendhar, were razed to ground, sources told the Excelsior.
One of the mortar shells fell in the premises of Master Mohammad Shabir at Gohlad in Mendhar sector around 5.30 am and exploded with a bang, killing his 40-year old wife Raqia Bi on the spot. She was hit by splinters of the mortar shell on her head leading to her instant death. Their house was also damaged.
Sources said the woman was preparing to leave house for the local Mosque for morning prayers when the shelling suddenly started and one of the mortar shells fell inside the house, killing here.
Several other mortar shells also fell in the villages at Gohlad and Sabra Gali but the people remained confined to their houses and had very narrow escape in the shelling and firing.
The Indian side hit back very strongly and destroyed three Pakistani posts and bunkers, which were raining mortars and bullets on the Indian positions in Mendhar sector. There were reports that Pakistan army suffered casualties in retaliatory action by the Indian Army but exact figures were not available.
Pointing out that some militants were also camping across LoC waiting for infiltration into the Indian territory, sources said Pakistan army was also trying to facilitate the intrusion bids but was finding it impossible to push the militants due to high alert being maintained by the Indian troops on the LoC.
Panic gripped the people living in forward areas of Mendhar as soon as mortar shelling started early this morning. The people confined themselves to houses and bunkers and didn’t come out even more than two hours after mortar shelling had stopped. Some of the houses suffered damage in the shelling, sources said.
Local people in Gohlad held protest demonstration this morning against shelling by Pakistan army and failure of the administration to reach the spot for timely help to the victims. However, civil and police officers later reached the spot and gave Rs 5000 to the victim family from Red Cross Fund and promises ex-gratia payment under rules shortly. Senior officers of Army, police and civil administration joined burial of the woman at Gohlad.
On August 8, the Pakistani troops had resorted to firing and shelling in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district, killing Sepoy Pawan Singh Sugra (21).
Till August 1 this year, there have been 285 instances of ceasefire violation by the Pakistani forces. In 2016, the number was significantly less at 228.