No let up in firing at Chechwal

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Oct 4: There has been no let up in heavy firing by the Pakistani Rangers at Chechwal in Hiranagar sector, which had prompted people living in the villages along the International Border (IB) stay indoors. Fresh bout of firing between BSF and Rangers at Chechwal this morning triggered more panic among the border villagers.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Rangers resorted to heavy firing in forward area of Chalairi in Chechwal area of Samba sector at 10.15 am today. As the Rangers continued firing for about 15 minutes, the BSF jawans retaliated to silence guns across the border.
Firing from both sides stopped around 11 am.
“There were no casualties or damage on Indian side in the firing. However, at least two Rangers were reported to have sustained casualties—either fatal or non-fatal as the ambulances could be seen shifting two of them from the forward Pakistani posts’’, sources said.
The panic stricken people in Chechwal, who had only yesterday been assured of full protection by the BSF, civil and police authorities in an inter-action with them, stayed indoors for the day after the firing.
The people have not been taking to their fields for harvesting of crops in the forward areas after Monday afternoon’s direct firing on civilians by the Rangers, in which a couple working in the fields was injured.
A border villager, Ranjeet Singh said: “we don’t want to risk our lives by going to work in the forward areas. The Rangers can open firing any time again. Unless there is ceasefire between the two sides, it would be difficult for us to take to the fields, falling in firing range of Pakistan’’.
Another villager, Prem Kumar added: “it has been increasingly becoming difficult for us to move out of the House but to say of working in the fields. We want tension between the two sides to cool down so that we are in a position to go ahead with harvesting of crops’’.
Yesterday, the administration had persuaded the civilians to stay put in their houses with the assurance that the firing would stop soon and they would be in a position to work in the fields. The people had also been assured that a bund would be raised to serve as protection wall for the villagers of forward areas.
However, a fresh round of today’s firing has created further doubts among the villagers, sources said.
This was fourth incident of ceasefire violation by the Rangers at Chechwal after a tunnel dug by the Pakistan authorities about 540 meters inside the Indian territory was detected on July 27. The BSF had started work between border fencing to Zero Line to uncover the tunnel, which had originated from Pakistan.
Sources said the Rangers had been resorting to firing to stop work by the BSF to uncover the tunnel as it would expose their plot of construction of tunnel to facilitate infiltration of militants and smuggling of narcotics.
Yesterday, the BSF had lodged a very strong written protest with the Rangers over Monday’s direct firing at the civilians in which a couple was seriously injured.
Sources said the BSF and the Rangers could go for a high level flag meeting to sort out the issue and maintain ceasefire for welfare of the border villagers on both sides.
They pointed out that continued spell of firing between the troops of India and Pakistan on the Line of Control (LoC) at Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district had also come to a halt after the Brigade Commander level meeting in July this year.


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