A Border Security Force (BSF) jawan was killed in shelling by Pakistan along the India-Pakistan border in Samba sector in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said Monday.
After a day-long lull, Pakistani Rangers violated ceasefire again by targeting border posts in Kathua and Samba, drawing retaliation from the BSF.
“BSF jawan, Devender Singh, posted at Khora border outpost in Samba sector, died in Pakistan firing,” a police official said. “Pakistan is firing mortar shells. India is also responding in equal measure.”
There was firing on Bobiyan and Pansar forward areas along International Border in Kathua district, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Kathua deputy commissioner said.
In Samba district, there were two rounds of small arms firing on Ballard post in Ramgarh sub-sector, Samba SSP Anil Magotra said.
BSF troops retaliated to Pakistani firing, the officials said.
However, residents of border villages continue to leave for safer areas in view of the latest round of ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
On New Year's eve, Pakistani firing had left two persons dead, including a BSF jawan, and nine injured while five Pakistani Rangers were killed in retaliatory firing by India.
On January 3, two army jawans and a woman were killed, while 11 people were injured in cross-border firing.
There was no firing by Pakistan Rangers from the night of January 3 till January 4 evening.
Over 3,500 people have migrated from border villages in Samba and Kathua districts in the wake of renewed hostilities between the nuclear-armed rivals.
Around 2,500 people have migrated from 11 villages in Kathua after shelling from across international border. As many as 1,800 people are in relief camps.
The administration has provided bedding, tarpaulin, blankets, ration, lentils, firewood, drinking water and other basic items at these relief camps, Kathua deputy commissioner Iqbal said.
Pakistani shells pounded areas that were three to four kilometres from the border, making it difficult for officials to move people.
“Mortar shells fired by Pakistan hit three places that are four kilometres from the border. It’s for the first time these places have been hit. We are not able to press in vehicles to carry people from the border to safer places, fearing they too may by targeted,” Iqbal said.
Camp commanders and camp officers have been appointed for overseeing arrangements and provision of relief.
Committees of camp inhabitants have also been constituted or coordination. An amount of Rs 5,000 each was given to the families of five persons injured during firing Sunday, he said.
In Samba district, over 1,000 people have been put in shelter camps in Chichi Mata temple, high school and other buildings.
Over 550 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan occurred in 2014, the highest since the truce came into force in 2003, with the Indo-Pak border witnessing the worst such escalation during August to October which left 13 people, including 2 security personnel dead.
A total of 19 people, including 5 jawans, were killed and over 150 injured in such incidents last year.
The renewal of hostilities has raised temperatures on both sides of the border. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has asked Pakistan to adhere to the mechanisms evolved to ensure peace along the border as well as the Line of Control.
On the other hand, the Pakistani side vowed to “pay back India in its own coin”. “We will now speak to them in a language they understand,” defence minister Khwaja Asif said in Islamabad.
(With PTI inputs)