Jawan injured in heavy shelling at Nowshera
Sanjeev Pargal / Fayaz Bukhari
JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Feb 23: At least two to three members of Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) were reported killed in Indian Army’s action across Balnoi in Mendhar sector of Poonch district late last night in which two Pakistani posts and a bunker were destroyed while troops thwarted another BAT attempt to strike on its posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Tanghdar sector of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, where Indo-Pak troops traded heavy shelling.
Pakistani troops today resumed heavy mortar shelling and firing in parts of Nowshera and Manjakote sectors in Rajouri district in which an Army soldier was injured and two houses were damaged.
Sources told the Excelsior there were reports that at least two to three members of Pakistan’s BAT were killed in last night’s action by the Indian Army across Balnoi sub sector of Mendhar tehsil in Poonch district in which two posts and a bunker of Pakistani troops were razed to ground.
The video available with the Excelsior News showed Pakistani posts and bunkers going in flames after being hit by anti-tank guided missiles, which were being used by the Indian troops to neutralize the BAT members and other infiltrators, who have been camping either inside or close to Pakistani posts waiting opportunity for infiltration into the Indian territory.
“The BAT members had reportedly taken shelter in the Pakistani posts and were believed to be dead,’’ sources said, adding some Pakistani troops might have suffered fatal or non-fatal casualties in the “pre-emptive and aggressive action’’ that was taken to thwart BAT action and infiltration attempt by the militants along LoC.
Few days back, Army had foiled BAT action in Khari Karmara area on the LoC in Poonch district, killing an infiltrator and injuring two others, who managed to escape back to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) under the cover of ceasefire violations by the Pakistani troops.
Northern Command chief Lt Gen Devraj Anbu had recently stated that there could be more than 300 militants, waiting across LoC for infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir.
Army said that the alert soldiers manning the fence in Tangdhar foiled the BAT action by engaging them in a gunfight that lasted for an hour last night.
“In its continued efforts to destabilize the situation along the Line of Control and target Indian Army posts, a Border Action Team comprising of militants and actively supported by heavy shelling using mortars and other weapons from multiple posts tried to raid a forward post of Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district,” an official said.
Alert troops detected the movement of the BAT team, which was trying to creep towards a forward post under cover of heavy fire by Pakistani troops and effectively repulsed it causing causalities.
”The exchange of fire continued for an hour as the Pakistan Army posts tried to cause damage to own posts but failed in their nefarious designs due to the tough and offensive shown by own army troops,” the official said.
Later, Pakistani troops targeted Indian posts with heavy shelling this afternoon. Army troops fired back and heavy shelling continued for four hours and intermittent firing continued till 8:30 p.m. However, there was no loss of life or to property.
On Feb 20, a BSF man was killed in a sniper attack by the Pakistani army. The Army had later retaliated and claimed to have killed two Pakistani troops.
And about 500 people living near the LoC in Uri sector were shifted to safer places after Pakistan resorted to heavy shelling and Indian troops also fired heavily for last few days. These people mostly belonged to Silikote, Churanda, Batgrah, Tilawari and other villages. Some of them have been sheltered in Government Higher Secondary Uri while others have gone to their relatives.
Ghulam Qadir Mir, resident of Tilawari said that for last two days firing is going on along the LoC.
“We the people of Border areas request PM to talk with Pakistan as we are often attacked. We want to live here as it is our own place and Government should provide us bunkers and other facilities so that we will live our lives peacefully”, he said.
Another resident of Charunda said: “Only poor people are being killed on both sides. Our appeal to the Government is to resolve the issue through dialogue.”
Another resident said that people along the LoC are getting affected and killing due to shelling. He said that instead of shelling, both the countries should resolve the issue peacefully.
Meanwhile, Pakistani troops resumed heavy mortar shelling and firing with automatic and semi-automatic weapons in forward areas of Nowshera sector including Jhangar, Kalsian Sarya and surroundings in Rajouri district, prompting immediate and effective retaliation from the Indian side.
An Army jawan Deep Sagar was injured in Pakistan firing at Kalsian. He was evacuated from the site of firing and hospitalized.
The shelling, which started around 4.30 pm, continued for about two hours, sources said.
In Khori Nar village, falling close to the LoC, in Manjakote sector of Rajouri district, two mortar shells landed inside the civilian population early today, causing damage to two houses, sources said.
Pakistan army also resorted to mortar shelling and firing in Balakote area of Mendhar sector tonight, which was retaliated by the Indian side. The exchanges continued for over a couple of hours.
The Indian troops have been giving very effective retaliation to Pakistan army’s shelling and firing at all the place.
Pakistan’s Director General (South Asia and SAARC), Mohammad Faisal summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner, JP Singh and lodged protest over alleged “ceasefire violations’’ by the Indian side. Sources said Pakistan’s protest came amidst heavy losses of their army personnel and infrastructural damages suffered in retaliatory shelling, firing and other actions by the Indian troops.
Meanwhile, BSF and Pakistani Rangers today held a Sector Commander level flag meeting on the International Border in Suchetgarh sector of RS Pura tehsil in Jammu district.
“The meeting discussed day to day border management issues,’’ an official handout issued by the BSF said.
It added that BSF reiterated its commitment towards maintaining peace and tranquility on the International Border and sought Pakistani Rangers’ cooperation for the same, which was agreed by them.
“The meeting concluded in a cordial atmosphere,’’ the handout said.
The BSF delegation comprised of nine officers and was led by PS Dhiman, DIG BSF Jammu Sector while Brig Amjad Hussain, Sector Commander, Sialkot, Punjab led 11-member Pakistani delegation.