Pakistan fires across LoC in Poonch: at least 5 injured
Hostilities at the border escalated Saturday with fresh ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Rajouri and Poonch sectors leaving five people injured, in the sixth incident in the last four days.
Amid the prevailing tension, Pakistani Rangers refused to accept sweets offered by BSF, leaving a bitter note on the occasion of Eid.
Pakistan Army opened "unprovoked firing" in two separate incidents in a span of 12 hours, targeting several Indian positions in Naushera sector of Rajouri district and Shah Pur Kerni area of Poonch sector, a senior Army officer said.
Indian positions in Naushera sector were targeted at 9:25 last night and the firing lasted till 11:45 PM, a defence spokesman said Saturday.
"Our troops effectively retaliated to the unprovoked firing from across the border," he said, adding there was no loss of life or injury was reported from the Indian side.
In the second incident at Poonch, Pakistan army again resorted to "unprovoked firing" on the Indian positions this afternoon at around 1:50 pm and the intermittent firing continued for several hours during which the Indian side effectively retaliated to the firing from across the border.
“ The injured were taken to the district hospital in Poonch by the police. The firing was still continuing when the reports last came in,” said SSP Poonch SS Johar.
Six ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops have taken place since July 15 leaving one killed and 13 injured. In July, there have been 11 ceasefire violations by the Pakistan army
The firing and mortar shelling in Jammu district on July 15, by Pakistan rangers, has left one woman killed and six others injured including two BSF jawans.
In fresh attacks on July 16, five more persons were injured. On July 9, Pakistani troops had fired at a forward border post in North Kashmir killing a BSF jawan. On July 5, a BSF jawan was killed in Pakistani firing along LoC in Nougam sector in Kashmir Valley.
In a reflection of the heightened tension, Pakistani Rangers declined sweets offered by the BSF on Eid. Border guarding forces of the two countries have been following a tradition of exchanging sweets on festivals at the International Border in Jammu and along the Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar in Punjab.
Border Security Force (BSF) Deputy Inspector General in Amritsar, M F Farooqui, told reporters that their gesture of giving sweets on the occasion of Eid was not reciprocated from the other side along the Attari-Wagah border. "We give sweets on Eid every time. The Rangers have not accepted it today. We always want to maintain peace and tranquillity on the border," he said.
However, the BSF did not offer any sweets to their counterparts along the International Border. A senior BSF commander at its headquarters in Delhi told PTI that the force did not "offer" Eid sweets along the IB to Rangers as a mark of protest against the ongoing spate of ceasefire violations which have claimed few lives and injured many in the last few days.
In the wake of repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistani Rangers, India has warned Pakistan of "effective and forceful" response to unprovoked firing and cross-border terrorism.