2 BSF personnel killed, 14 others injured, shelter camps ‘activated’
Jammu: Nearly a week after the DGMOs of India and Pakistan agreed to implement the ceasefire pact of 2003 in “letter and spirit”, the army said that Pakistani troops again targeted Indian posts and villages along the International Border (IB) here, killing two BSF personnel, including an officer.
Army officials said that the heavy firing and shelling from the Pakistani side continued for almost 12 hours in Pragwal area of Akhnoor, Kanachak and Khour sectors of Jammu district. It also left 14 persons injured, including two BSF jawans, a policeman, and two women.
The shelling was so intense that the deafening sound of mortar shell explosions was even heard in Jammu city, residents said.
Inspector General of BSF, Jammu frontier, Ram Avtar said that the Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing by targeting forward duty points at the IB in Pragwal at about 0115 hours, causing critical injuries to Assistant Sub-inspector SN Yadav (48) and Constable VK Pandey (27).
He said both the injured were rushed to a nearby hospital but later succumbed to injuries.
The firing from across the border prompted a strong and effective retaliation by the BSF, Avtar said.
He said the Pakistani troops also targeted civilian areas in Kanachak and Khour sectors besides the forward posts.
A senior BSF officer said the casualties were not the result of sniper fire but of sudden cross-border firing from Pakistan.
“We have strongly responded and in the coming days we will come to know about the damage suffered by Pakistan in the retaliatory action,” the officer said.
He said the BSF did not target civilian locations but Pakistani forces did.
Additional District Development Commissioner, Jammu, Arun Manhas said, “We have activated six lodgement centres at safer places for the people of the affected areas but so far nobody has turned up at these camps.”
He said some people were shifted to safer places in the morning or evacuated by security forces in bullet-proof vehicles.
“The heavy firing continued till 11.30am and continued intermittently in a few areas till 1pm before it stopped completely,” Manhas said.
The officials said the injured, included two BSF personnel, two women, a policeman and a 13-year-old boy, and most of them are stated to be in a stable condition.
The residents of Shama Chak, one of the villages hit by the Pakistani shelling, said this was for the first time that they witnessed mortars exploding near their houses.
“Our village is almost six kilometers from the international border and just 10 kms from Jammu city. This is for the first time shells rained in our village causing splinter injuries to four persons,” a resident said.
The latest deaths in the Pakistani firing raised the casualty figure during ceasefire violations along the IB and the Line of Control (LoC) in the state to 46. The dead include 20 security personnel.
Last month, thousands of people residing along the IB in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts had to flee their homes following intense shelling from the Pakistani side between May 15 and May 23 which left 12 people dead, including two BSF jawans and an infant, and scores of others injured.