JAMMU: The J&K government told the legislative assembly on Monday that dialogue and reconciliation was the only way to restore peace along the borders and in the Kashmir Valley. “Our stand is that dialogue and reconciliation is the only way to restore peace,” Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Rehman Veeri told the House while responding to concerns expressed by legislators on the loss of lives and property due to cross-border firing.
Veeri said the process of reconciliation initiated by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vaypayee in 2003 needed to be taken forward. Referring to the latest incidents of cross-border firing in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri, the minister said that the district administrations there were taking all possible measures to avoid loss of life and property. He said alternative arrangements for boarding and lodging have also been put in place for the affected population.
The minister said that in Rajouri at about 2130 hours on Sunday, Pakistan Army started indiscriminate firing in Balakote Sector resulting in the killing of 4 army personnel, namely Captain Kapil Kundu of Ransika, Gurgaon, Rifleman Ram Avtar of Baraka, Gawalior, Rifleman Subham Singh of Mukandpur, Kathua and Hawaldar Roshan Lal of Samba, who died on the spot, while Lance Naik Iqbal Ahmed sustained injuries.
He said in another ceasefire violation in Bandi Chacian Sector, Sepoy Kishore Kumar and two civilians including a minor namely Yaseen Arif and a girl namely Gulnaz Akhter sustained injuries.
Veeri informed that ceasefire violation was also reported from Sunderbani where one BSF soldier, namely ASI Ajab Singh, sustained injuries. He was immediately shifted to Army Hospital Satwari for treatment. Veeri said firing was also reported from Bhawani and Lam sectors but no loss of life was reported.
He said firing from both the sides stopped on the same day at about 1945 hours.
Earlier several members from opposition and treasury benches expressed concern over the loss of lives on the border and urged the state and central governments to take concrete measures to ensure peace and safety of civilians.