The rockets fired from the Pakistan side into the Indian territory on January 9 at Kahangarh Border Out Post, about 300 meters from the Attari-Wagah check post, claimed its first casualty after the Border Security Force (BSF) has transferred Commandant Harbax Singh Dhillon for inadequate response.
Dhillon, Commandant, 65 Battalion at Headquarter at Khasa has been transferred to BSF Academy at Tikanpur. Before the transfer orders the BSF Director General Office in New Delhi asked Dhillon to explain why his response to the rocket attack from across the boarder was inadequate.
Though Dhillon tried to explain his position and said whatever he did was as per the national policy of the government but it appeared it was inadequate to convince the senior officers of the BSF at the national capital Dhillon’s marching orders has already caused resentment among the senior BSF officers posted in the Punjab frontier.
IG, BSF Punjab Frontier, Himmat Singh though confirmed the transfer of Dhillon but said it was just a routine matter. The IG also denied that the response of the commandant was inadequate.
What is baffling the BSF officials in Punjab was that only last week Union Home Minister, PC Chidambram during the meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) emphasized on the need for the security forces to act restrain in such matters as any over-activism by them could accelerate into a major problem.
On the midnight of January 9 four 107 mm rocket s were fired into the Indian Territory near Kahangarh BOP near the Amrtisar-Pakistan border though they did not explode and caused no loss of property.
Sources in the BSF said that Dhiion in response to the rocket attack from Pakistan side immediately ordered the fire of 51 mm mortar bombs which has a range of 525 yards, a killing zone of 9 yards and danger zone of 150 yards.
Dhillon’s more aggressive response could only have been to order the fire of 81mm mortar bombs which has a rage of 5 kilometers, killing zone 12 yards and danger zone of 350 yards. However for which he had to seek prior permission from the IG. After this next aggressive step by the BSF could have been the Artillery fire, said the sources.
Contention of the BSF officers is that Dhillon acted in restrain as per the policy of the union government otherwise more aggressive approach could have aggravated the situation between the two countries. Moreover the preliminary inquiry revealed that the attack was launched by rouge elements which had no direct or tacit support of the Pakistan Rangers or the Army.
Sources also revealed that the BSF headquarters had also changed the patrolling policy by the jawans at the Indo-Pak fence during the night. While earlier the 300-yard area had to be patrolled by three jawans the recent instructions said the same has to b now manned by one jawan carrying its policy to patrol near the fence. Earlier there were three men who used to patrol the area up to 300 yards but of late only one person carrying Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) rifle.
Since booth 51mm and 81 mm mortar bombs are crew weapons it ca not be carried by a single man and hence had to be brought from the BOP which at times is two to three kilometers away from the patrolling area, the sources said.