India hits back: 2 Pak sniper shooters shot dead on LoC

A mortar shell explodes in Shahpur sector of Poonch on Sunday. —Excelsior/Harbhajan
A mortar shell explodes in Shahpur sector of Poonch on Sunday. —Excelsior/Harbhajan

Several posts, bunkers damaged

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Dec 24: At least two sniper shooters of Pakistan army were killed and their many other jawans were injured as Indian troops hit back after martyrdom of four soldiers including a Major, in Nowshera and Shahpur sectors of Rajouri and Poonch districts today after Pakistan violated ceasefire at both the places.
While there was no official word, sources told the Excelsior that two sniper shooters of Pakistan army, who were trying to snipe the Indian army soldiers in Nowshera and Poonch sectors, were gunned down by the troops in major “pre-emptive action’’ to avert Indian casualties.

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“The sniper shooters of Pakistan army were trying to aim the Indian Army troopers from forward areas on the Line of Control (LoC) in Nowshera and Poonch sectors to cause more casualties. At the same time, Pakistani troops also resorted to ceasefire violations in Shahpur sector of Poonch and Nowshera in Rajouri district. The troops retaliated and eliminated two sniper shooters of Pakistan and, thus, averted more targeted killings of the Army,’’ sources said.

DyCM Dr Nirmal Singh paying tributes to martyrs in Jammu on Sunday.
DyCM Dr Nirmal Singh paying tributes to martyrs in Jammu on Sunday.

Reports said that after two hours intense exchange of mortar shelling and firing between Indo-Pak troops in Shahpur sector of Poonch district on the LoC from 12.30 pm onwards, a number of ambulances could be seen on Pakistan side evicting casualties suffered by the enemy troops, which could be fatal as well as non-fatal.
However, there were no casualties or damages on the Indian side in Pakistan shelling and firing today.
Sources said a number of forward Pakistani posts and bunkers were hit in retaliatory firing and damaged extensively.
For the past quite some time, Pakistan army and Rangers have been using sniper shooters on LoC and IB to target Army and BSF jawans. However, such incidents have not been reported on the International Border for quite some time now.
“The elimination of two sniper shooters on the LoC has delivered major setback to Pakistan army,’’ sources said. Yesterday, after the martyrdom of four Indian soldiers including a Major and three jawans in Keri sector of Rajouri district, the Indian Army had warned of revenge saying martyrdom of the jawans won’t go in vain.
In the evening, Pakistan army also violated ceasefire on the LoC in Balakote sector of Mendhar in Poonch district by resorting to small arms firing. The Indian side retaliated.
Meanwhile, following escalated tensions on the LoC after yesterday’s incident, fresh panic has gripped people living close to the LoC in twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri as they feared that frustrated Pakistani troops could once again target the civilian areas, which they had been doing since May this year. Number of civilians have been killed and injured during past six months in ceasefire violations by the Pakistani troops.
Meanwhile, White Knight Corps today bid farewell to the four brave hearts who laid down their lives guarding the nation’s frontiers while serving at the LoC in Keri sector of Rajouri district yesterday.
A military send off was organized at Udhampur and Jammu in honour of the martyrs wherein, wreaths were laid by Lt Gen D Anbu, GOC-in-C Northern Command and Lt Gen Saranjeet Singh, GOC White Knight Corps.
Dr Nirmal Singh, Deputy Chief Minister, paid tributes to the brave hearts and laid wreath at Jammu. He said the Army officers and soldiers would be remembered for ever and their names recorded in the history so that young generation gets inspiration from them,
Major Moharkar Prafulla Ambadas, Lance Naik Gurmail Singh, Lance Naik Kuldeep Singh and Sepoy Pargat Singh were martyred in Pakistan’s ceasefire violation in Keri sector of Rajouri district yesterday.
Their bodies were sent to their native towns with full military honours today.
Lt Gen Saranjeet Singh, GOC White Knight Corps while paying homage to the gallant soldiers, said that the undaunting valiant acts of the soldiers will continue to motivate the future generations.
“The nation will remain ever indebted for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty of our heroes,’’ he said.
Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a total of 881 ceasefire violations this year, highest in the past seven years, along the LoC and the International Border (IB), resulting in the death of 34 persons.
According to officials, Pakistan has violated ceasefire along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir 771 times till December 10, and 110 times along the IB till November-end this year.
Thirty persons — 14 Army personnel, 12 civilians and four BSF personnel — were killed in such incidents.
The truce between India and Pakistan along the International Border and Line of Control and in Jammu and Kashmir came into force in November, 2003.
India shares a 3,323-km-long border with Pakistan, of which 221 km of the IB and 740 km of the LoC fall in Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2016, there were 449 incidents of ceasefire violations wherein 13 civilians and 13 Government forces personnel were killed and 83 civilians and 99 security personnel were injured.
In 2014, there were 583 incidents of ceasefire violation in which 14 civilians and three security personnel were killed and 101 civilians and 28 security personnel were injured.
In 2015, the number of ceasefire violations was 405; 347 in 2013, 114 in 2012, 62 in 2011 and 70 in 2010.