Heavy shelling again, 2 hurt
JAMMU, Apr 4: India said today that Pakistan army was supporting Border Action Team (BAT) and other militant groups on the Line of Control (LoC) to facilitate their infiltration into the Indian territory ahead of Parliamentary elections and summer and warned that it reserved the right to neutralize the militants before intrusions.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Pakistan army initiated hotline talks with Indian military officials after suffering heavy losses in retaliatory shelling by India on the LoC in twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri. Pakistan army wanted cessation of hostilities on the LoC.
However, according to sources, Indian side told the Pakistani official that there has been movement of BAT members, who comprised suicide squad of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Pakistan army commandos and other infiltrators, who were camping at the LoC on Pakistan side with active support of their army.
There had been inputs that BAT teams and infiltrators could target forward defence locations and try to infiltrate into the Indian territory under the cover of Pakistan shelling and firing ahead of Parliament elections in the State and summer to disrupt polls and peace.
The Indian Army made it clear to their Pakistani counterpart that it will continue to hit back Pakistani firing and shelling with full force to ensure that the BAT members and other infiltrators don’t manage to infiltrate.
Pakistan claimed that they have suffered heavy losses in Indian shelling and firing.
The Indian side had been responding to heavy ceasefire violations by Pakistan at the LoC since the air raid on a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp at Balakote on February 26. Sources said that India opened up its Bofors guns to target Pakistani posts indulging in the ceasefire violations as Pakistan continued artillery firing and used long range mortar shells to pound civilian areas.
India has made it absolutely clear that the army retaliated to ceasefire violations and targeted only military positions that were supporting BAT and terror activities, sources said, adding that, in turn, Pakistan only hit civilian areas in both Poonch and Rajouri districts in which five civilians have been killed so far while three Army soldiers and a BSF jawan were martyred.
In Indian retaliation, Pakistan army has suffered heavy casualties and infrastructure losses.
Pakistan had on Wednesday summoned India’s Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad for what it termed as “unprovoked ceasefire violations” by Indian troops along the LoC, which killed three Pakistani troops.
Pakistan’s acceptance of casualties of its three Army jawans was rare as generally Pakistan never admits nor disclose its military casualties. Even Pakistani media is barred from reporting the Army casualties. Defence sources, however, said that the Pakistan army has suffered over two dozen casualties since it began violating the ceasefire agreement at the LoC. They added that it has cited a much lower figure to keep morale of their troops and people high.
Meanwhile, Pakistan army again violated ceasefire this evening after a lull of two days targeting civilian areas at Gulpur, Digwar and Khari Karmara on the Line of Control in Poonch district, leading to fresh wave of panic among the people and causing injuries to two civilians.
The Indian Army retaliated firing and shelling effectively, leading to heavy exchanges, which continued for about two hours.
Pakistan army was again reported to have suffered extensive damage in the Indian retaliation.
The civilians, who had started working in the fields in view of no ceasefire violations during last two days, rushed back and took shelter in houses and bunkers as Pakistan again pounded civilian areas around 6 pm with long range mortar shells and artillery fire.
Injured civilians have been identified as Kamaal Din S/o Alam Din R/o Noorkot and Shamima Bi W/o Mohd Shabir R/o Digwal. They have been hospitalised.