Army jawan, civilian martyred; 4 injured, Pak officer killed

Martyr Naik Ravi Ranjan
Martyr Naik Ravi Ranjan

Several houses damaged in heavy shelling
LoC tense, people take shelter in bunkers

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Aug 20: An Army soldier and a civilian were martyred while four other jawans were injured in heavy Pakistan shelling and firing on the Line of Control (LoC) in Mendhar and Krishna Ghati sectors in Poonch district while a Pakistan army officer was killed in retaliatory action by the Indian troops.
Number of houses and other structures were damaged and some cattle reportedly perished in Pakistan shelling in Mendhar sector this evening.
Official reports said Pakistan army initiated heavy mortar shelling and firing along the LoC in Mendhar and Krishna Ghati sectors of Poonch district this morning targeting forward posts of the Army and civilian locations with long range mortar shells and heavy arms firing. The Indian Army retaliated effectively, leading to heavy exchanges which continued till this evening intermittently. Click here to watch video
An Army vehicle, which was transporting the soldiers from one post to another in forward area on the LoC in Mendhar sector, was reportedly hit by a heavy mortar. An Army jawan attained martyrdom in Pakistan shelling while four others were injured. Troops from forward posts immediately rushed to the spot and all injured were evacuated to the Command Hospital in Udhampur.
The martyr has been identified as Naik Ravi Ranjan Kumar Singh, 36, a resident of village Gope Bigha in Dehrionson area of Bihar’s Rotasa district. He is survived by his wife Rita Devi.
“Naik Ravi Ranjan Kumar Singh was a brave, highly motivate and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” a Defence spokesman said.
He added that the Indian Army responded strongly and effectively and inflicted heavy damage on forward Pakistan army posts and casualties to their troops.
Reports confirmed that a Pakistan army officer has been killed in retaliatory firing by the Indian troops. However, further details including his rank and identity couldn’t be ascertained immediately.
On Saturday, another Army soldier Lance Naik Sandeep Thappa of Uttarakhand was martyred in Pakistan shelling and firing in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district. In retaliatory action, a Pakistan army commando and two militants were killed when the Indian troops destroyed an enemy post opposite Nowshera. Prior to that, four Pakistan army personnel were killed in retaliatory shelling and firing by the Indian troops on the LoC.
Meanwhile, Pakistani troops targeted forward Army posts and civilian areas at Dabraj, Mankote, Balnoi, Sagra and surroundings in Mendhar and Krishna Ghati sectors in Poonch district this afternoon. The Indian side retaliated effectively.
A civilian was killed when a mortar shell exploded inside his house at village Dabraj in Mendhar. He has been identified as Mohammad Abdul Karim, 22, son of Faqar Din R/o Dabraj.
Security forces and locals rushed the civilian to Mendhar hospital where he was declared dead. Block Medical Officer (BMO) Mendhar, Dr Parvaiz Ahmed Khan has kept entire staff of the hospital on alert to meet with any eventuality in the wake of continued shelling and firing by the Pakistani troops.
Reports said two ambulances were also trapped in Pakistan shelling in forward villages but were taken safely to the hospital late this evening after firing stopped from across the LoC.
Number of mortar shells were reported to have landed near houses of the people in forward villages of Mendhar sector but the people had narrow escape. Half a dozen houses were reported to have suffered damages in Pakistan shelling while some cattle sheds were also hit.
Reports said some cattle perished in shelling and firing but there was no official word as mobile phones services remained snapped in Poonch district since August 5 following abrogation of special Constitutional provisions of Jammu and Kashmir by the Central Government.
There was panic among the border dwellers in Mendhar sector and surroundings following firing of long range mortar shells by the Pakistan army directly in civilian locations and the people remained confined to their houses and bunkers.
Even the schools falling close to the LoC remained closed as people didn’t send their children to educational institutions for the fear of mortar shelling and firing, reports said, adding that snapping of communication links including mobile telephones and mobile internet services by the administration since August 5 has compounded problems of the people as they were not able to communicate with police and civil administration.
Meanwhile, Army sources said the Initiation of ceasefire violation followed by false figure of Indian casualties is Pakistan’s deliberate design to up the ante along LoC to desperately seek international attention.
“Unlike Pakistan army, Indian Army never hides the casualties,” they said.
They added that Pakistan DG ISPR’s tweet of six Indian casualties again proves that Pakistan as a nation is only a propaganda machinery. “In the ongoing ceasefire violation today in Krishna Ghati sector, Indian Army had one fatal casualty and four non-fatal casualties,” they maintained.