Scare in Balakote LoC villages as land mines explode with forest fire

Excelsior Correspondent
POONCH, Apr 4: Dozens of land mine explosion caused a scare in the villages along the Line of Control (LoC) in Balakote sub sector of Poonch today.
Reports said that scare was created in the minds of the villagers of Balakote block of Mendhar Sub Division when many explosions took place intermittently. The people apprehended heavy shelling from the Pakistani side.
Official sources said that in fact forest fire which was witnessed on that side of the LoC last evening, spread into this side of the LoC during wee hours. With the spreading of fire near the LoC, the mines laid by the troops along the border started exploding. Dozens of mine explosions, caused panic in the area. Later, they realised that it was forest fire which was spreading in the major area of forest on this side of the LoC and with its impact the land mines were exploding itself.
The Army authorities sounded alert and Forest staff from Mendhar also reached the site. They along with the field staff and villagers were trying to contain fire. The Army units deployed in the area were also fighting fire at their own. By this afternoon, the fire was controlled to a larger extent.
Defence sources said that as per its strategy, the Pakistani troops try to push groups of armed militants into this side and they lit the fire in the forest to divert the attention of the Indian troops. Then taking cover of smoke and clearing mine fields with explosions, they try to push militants’ groups to carry out subversive activities in J&K or elsewhere in the country. The troops have been put on high alert sensing possible intrusion amidst explosions, fire and smoke, the sources added.