At least 3 BSF jawans were injured when alleged Pakistani smugglers attacked their duty vehicle early on Saturday in the Daoke region along the India-Pakistan border.
Officials said the incident occurred at around 1am on Saturday when troops of the 163rd battalion of the Border Security Force were out on patrol on a Tata-407 vehicle near the Bhikiwind post, about 16 km from the retreat ceremony area.
The incident is being seen as a retaliatory attack by the smugglers after the BSF troops gunned down 3 of their colleagues few days ago.
Providing information about the incident, officiating DIG IP Bhatia said, "Our duty vehicle had gone to the border area as routine to drop jawans as it was time for change of duty. As it entered the Daoke Post area, the vehicle was suddenly attacked by the Pakistani smugglers.
"In this our 3 jawans received injuries. The smugglers used AK-47 assault rifle and 16 rounds were found from the spot. More are expected [to be found] as the search operation is still on. The BSF jawans also opened fire in retaliation," added Bhatia.
Although the Pakistani smugglers fired at the troops just from a distance of 30 yards from the fence, the BSF was quick to give a clean chit to the Pakistan Rangers.
"In this case, there seems no involvement of Pakistani Rangers. We feel that since the BSF had gunned down couple of Pakistani smugglers few days back, they have retaliated," he added.
The jawans, who were injured during this incident, have been identified as constable Mahender Boro (driver of the vehicle), constable Rakesh Kumar and constable Nagendra Kumar. While constable Rakesh Kumar received bullet injury in his thigh, the other two were hit by splinters in their back.
All 3 were rushed to the local Guru Nanak Dev Hospital and were declared to be stable by doctors.
After the Pakistani smugglers initiated firing, BSF jawans also responded by firing 7-8 rounds after which the alleged shooters ran away. The BSF found many empty fired shells from the fencing area, indicating the firing was done from across the border.
Today's attack on the BSF jawans is the first such incident along the Punjab border and is being termed as serious.
BSF IG Punjab Frontier Anil Palliwal, along with DIG RPS Jaiswal, visited the hospital to meet the wounded jawans. Both the officers along with others later visited the Daoke area, where the incident took place.
After the incident, the BSF has heightened the vigil in the area and patrolling too has been stepped up.
Even though the BSF has given a clean chit to Pakistan Rangers, it will lodge a protest with the neighbouring country's paramilitary forces. The troops will also hold commandant level talks with the Rangers.
This meeting is expected to take place on Saturday evening.