Day ahead of Modi's visit, Pak violates ceasefire in Jammu again

  • Tarun Upadhyay, Hindustan Times, Jammu
  • Updated: Jul 16, 2015 15:27 IST

A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Jammu, Pakistan on Thursday targeted border posts and civilian areas along the international border and Line-of-Control in the area injuring three people.

Border Security Force and Indian Army officials said Pakistan violated the ceasefire once again by firing at BSF outposts in RS Pura and also at LoC in Shahpur sector of Poonch district. On Wednesday, a woman was killed in firing by Pakistan prompting India to lodge a protest with the neighbouring country.

PM Modi' is scheduled visit to Jammu on Friday to attend the centenary celebrations of former state finance minister and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley's father-in-law late Girdhari Lal Dogra.

"Pakistan Rangers resorted to small arms firing and mortar shelling along the IB in RS Pura, about 20 km from Jammu city at 3:50am," a BSF officer said.

They targeted five border outposts (BoPs) and some civilian areas in RS Pura and Tawi forward belts.

"BSF troops guarding the border line retaliated effectively and the firing exchange continued till 0530 hours today," he said adding four persons were injured in Brewa village. The injured included labourers who were working in paddy fields.

In the ongoing season of sowing, villagers are facing difficulty in getting labour from outside the state because of the consistent firing along the border.

Defence officials said the Pakistan army also started heavy firing in Shahpur sector along the LoC in Poonch sector, about 250 km from Jammu, on Thursday morning. Defence sources said the firing started at about 2am and continued for three hours.

According to the BSF, Pakistan Rangers have increased the arch of firing and shelling from Kanachak-Akhnoor sector to RS Pura sector now. There have been nine ceasefire violations during July.

A woman, Poli Devi, was killed and six others, including two BSF jawans, were injured on Wednesday in firing and mortar shelling in the undisputed part of the de facto border in Jammu's Akhnoor sector by Pakistan Rangers.

The Pakistan media reported that two civilians died in an 'unprovoked' firing by India in the Sialkot sector, which is opposite RS Pura sector.

India registered a complaint with Pakistan over the firing both in Islamabad as well as in Delhi, agencies reported citing government sources saying.

"Our high commissioner in Islamabad raised the issue with the Pakistan Foreign Office and Pakistan high commissioner in Delhi was also conveyed India's concerns regarding ceasefire violation in which one woman was killed and some people injured," sources told PTI on Thursday.

Television footage showed villagers holding empty mortar shells and cartridges, which they alleged had been fired by Pakistani rangers.

Pakistan also protested to the Indian high commissioner on Thursday over what it called "unprovoked ceasefire violations" along the disputed border.

It also complained about the "spy drone" which was shot down in disputed Kashmir. The Pakistani military had said on Wednesday that troops had shot down "an Indian spy drone used for aerial photography" close to the de facto border in Kashmir.

The Indian Army and Air Force, however, denied any of their drones had been shot down or had crashed.

Following the incident, Pakistan's foreign ministry hauled in the Indian high commissioner to hear a "strong protest over airspace violation", a statement said.

The ministry said the intrusion of the drone, which came down in the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir, was a violation of international law and territorial integrity.

On July 9, Pakistani troops fired at a forward border post in North Kashmir killing a BSF jawan, an incident that came on the eve of talks between PM Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Russia. Modi had accepted an invitation from Sharif to visit Pakistan next year, raising hopes of an improvement in perennially difficult relations.

After months of stalemate and recriminations, Modi and Sharif spoke for about an hour while visiting Russia for a regional summit. It will be the first time that Modi -- who has a reputation as a hardline nationalist -- will travel to Pakistan since coming to power.

Last November on the eve of the PM's visit to Jammu, 12 people, including five civilians and four militants, were killed in a terrorist attack at Arnia, near the RS Pura sector.

(With inputs from agencies)


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