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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

2 killed in Pak firing; troops find tunnel across LoC

Tarun Upadhyay and Agencies, Hindustan Times  Jammu, August 23, 2014
First Published: 07:17 IST(23/8/2014) | Last Updated: 01:40 IST(24/8/2014)

Intense firing by Pakistani troops on Indian posts along the international border on Saturday killed a 10-year-old boy and his father and forced hundreds of people to seek shelter in government buildings, with India warning it will respond adequately to such provocations.

Read: Pak asks for DGMO meet with India to address border firing

A senior police official told HT that Akram Hussain, 35, and his son Aslam Khan were killed, while three other family members were injured, in the heaviest firing so far by the Pakistan rangers in RS Pura sector, about 35km from Jammu.

Read: No one alerted us to evacuate, say border village locals

Villagers gather near the bodies of those killed in cross-border firing between Indian and Pakistani troops at Jeiora village in the RS Pura sector near Jammu. (AFP PHOTO)

The official said this nomadic Gujjar family was putting up near the border fence. A BSF jawan was also injured in the firing that forced about 400 families to take shelter in government buildings.

Inspector general of Border Security Force Rajesh Kumar Sharma said the Pakistan rangers deliberately targeted civilians during the shelling and firing on about 20 BSF posts for nearly six hours on Saturday morning.

Read: Why is govt silent on Pak firing: Congress

Another breach of the 2003 border ceasefire agreement occurred in Poonch district, when Pakistan troops fired with automatic and small arms at Indian posts in Hamirpur along the Line of Control. Six persons including a BSF jawan were injured and five houses were damaged, security officials said.

Watch: Pakistan troops violate ceasefire, two civilians killed


Pakistan media also claimed that a woman and a 60-year-old man were killed in firing by Indian troops in Sialkote, which is contiguous with RS Pura.

"We have given them a befitting reply," said Sharma, echoing defence minister Arun Jaitley who said "our army is prepared to respond to each violation".

"The country has full faith that they (army) are effectively protecting both the territory and the national interest," Jaitley told reporters in Vishakhapatnam.

At least 3,000 people from seven to eight villages, falling within firing range of the Pakistani troops, have been shifted to safe shelters, Jammu divisional commissioner Shant Manu said.

Ceasefire violations have been reported by India almost every day in the past two weeks. There have been more than 70 such violations since the Narendra Modi government took charge in May. Only on Aug 18, Pakistani troops had fired at 12 Indian posts in RS Pura area.

Border firing has been one of the most conspicuous signs of hostility between the two nations, especially over Kashmir that is claimed by both.

After the 2003 ceasefire agreement, border villagers had heaved a sigh of relief. Scores of people had died and hundreds maimed in frequent exchange of fire by the security forces of both nations.

Meanwhile, the Indian troops have discovered an incomplete underground tunnel leading from Pakistan into Jammu and Kashmir, the defence ministry said.

The tunnel was discovered in Pallanwala sector in Jammu district, around 50 metres on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC).

"The dimensions of the tunnel is approximately two-and-a-half feet wide and three-and-a-half feet high and is leading towards POK," a defence ministry statement said, referring to the Pakistani Kashmir.

"It appears to be an incomplete tunnel as no exit has been found on the Indian side. Troops are carrying out a thorough search of the area to ascertain further details which is taking time due to existing mine field," it said.

 

(With inputs from IANS)


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