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J&K: Cross Border Firing Injures Civilian, BSF Trooper in Jammu Along the IB

Anees Zargar |
Firing from Pakistan Rangers, first major violation along the International Border between India and Pakistan since February 2021.
Firing from Pakistan Rangers, first major violation along the International Border between India and Pakistan since February 2021

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: PTI

Srinagar: A civilian and a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were injured during a cross-border firing from Pakistan late Thursday in the Jammu sector’s Arnia area, officials said, as locals fled from villages towards safer locations. 

The firing from Pakistan Rangers, the first major violation along the International Border (IB) between India and Pakistan since the two nations renewed efforts to adhere to a cease-fire in February 2021, was reported at about 8 pm, following which the BSF troops responded with retaliatory fire.

“Pak Rangers extended their firing to target our adjacent BOPs (Border Outposts), prompting retaliation from own Forward Defense Posts in these areas in a befitting manner,” a BSF spokesperson said in a statement.  

At about 9:15 pm, the Rangers, according to the BSF, began mortar firing targeting Border outposts and civilian areas, following which some of the shells landed in Arnia town, resulting in minor injuries to one civilian, identified as Rajni Devi, a local of Arnia. During the intense firing, which continued till 3 a.m., a BSF constable, Basava Raj, also sustained minor splinter injuries in his hands. 

“The injured individual was promptly evacuated to PHC Arnia and later admitted to GMCH, Jammu. His condition is stable,” the BSF said.  

The incident, however, resulted in panic in villages close to the firing area. The sound of heavy shelling caused fear in villagers, which then triggered mass movement throughout the night. 

“I was attending a wedding, and when the firing began, everyone got really scared. The sound indicated that the firing was from heavy artillery. This unprovoked firing from Pakistan is clearly a ceasefire violation,” said Taranjit Singh Tony, a District Development Council (DDC) member from Jammu’s Suchetgarh.  

Both India and Pakistan resorted to heavy cross-firing from 2018 until February 2021 when the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMO) from the two countries agreed to the “strict observance of all agreements, understandings and ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors”.  

The fresh firing on Thursday was reported after the security forces said it killed at least five infiltrators along the LoC at the Macchil sector in the border district of Kupwara in North Kashmir. The infiltration bid was thwarted after specific intelligence input provided by Kupwara Police in a joint operation launched by Rashtriya Rifle Troops of the Indian Army and the J&K police. 

“Multiple ambushes were laid by security forces ahead of the Anti-Infiltration fence along the LOC. The area is thickly forested with dense foliage. At around 10:15 am on October 26, the infiltrating terrorists were intercepted by alert troops,” Indian Army’s Srinagar-based PRO defence said. 

The encounter between the infiltrators and the security forces continued through the day as RR troops employed modern surveillance devices and Quadcopters to locate them in the difficult terrain, according to the official. 

The police said that they are ascertaining the identity of the slain, and a search operation in the area is still ongoing. The security officials believe that before the onset of winter, it is likely that there will be more such attempts by Pakistan to push militants in Jammu and Kashmir, where the number of active cadres is reported to have shrunk to an all-time low in the recent years. 

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