The BSF, the officials said, retaliated “strongly and effectively” to the Pakistani firing.
Srinagar: Four more civilians were injured and about forty livestock killed or injured in firing by the Pakistan Rangers in three different sectors along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. The firing also caused damage to two private houses and prompted the authorities to relocate over 700 residents to safer locations.
The fresh incidents took place on a day when India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), Let, Gen. A.K. Bhatt, unequivocally told his Pakistani counterpart Maj. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza that the Indian troops reserve the right to "retaliate appropriately" to any incident leading to the loss of lives among them due to the firing from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir.
He in a telephonic conversation also conveyed to his Pakistani counterpart that the trend of cross-border infiltration with "active support" of Pakistani forward posts has been continuing, impacting peace and tranquillity in the border areas, the officials said.
The officials in winter capital Jammu said that the Pakistan Rangers resorted to “unprovoked” firing in violation of the November 2003 ceasefire agreement in IB’s Arnia, Ranbir Singh Pura and Ramgarh sectors. Four civilians were injured whereas six livestock were killed and 34 injured. Two residential houses suffered damage in the Pakistani firing, they said. In similar incidents, seven civilians were injured on Thursday, they added.
The BSF, the officials said, retaliated “strongly and effectively” to the Pakistani firing. The skirmishes have once again caused panic among the civilians living in the village in close proximity to the IB called ‘Working Boundary’ (WB) by Islamabad. “As many as 727 civilians have been shifted to safer locations,” they said.
The police officials said that the Pakistan Rangers used small and medium weapons and also fired 82mm mortars to target the BSF forward positions and civilian areas in Ramgarh in Samba district and Arnia and Ranbir Singh Pura sectors in Jammu district, causing injuries to civilians and damage to private houses, cattle sheds and vehicles. The affected villages include Jerha, SM Pura, Nanga, Samandhu, Dagg in Ramgarh sector, Kathar Kothe, Pindi and Jabowal Kol in Arnia sector and Sheikh Chak and Suchetgarh of Ranbir Sing Pura sector. On September 13 and 18, a BSF jawan and a civilian were killed and over a dozen civilians injured in the the Pakistani firing and shelling in these sectors.
Earlier during the day on Friday, Pakistan had said that, at least, six of its citizens were killed and 26 others injured in alleged ceasefire violations across the IB or WB by Indian troops. According to Pakistan Army spokesperson, the Indian border guards started "unprovoked firing" along the border in Chappar, Charwah and Harpal sectors."Pakistan Rangers Punjab befittingly responded silencing the Indian guns targeting civil population," the spokesman of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in Islamabad.
The Pakistani officials said that the country’s acting Foreign Secretary, Aitzaz Ahmed, summoned the Indian High Commissioner, and strongly condemned the “unprovoked ceasefire violations” by the Indian forces. They alleged that so far this year the Indian troops have carried out more than 870 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the IB resulting into the killing of 38 civilians and injuries to 142, as compared to 382 ceasefire violations in 2016.
India has strongly denied Pakistani allegations and said that the incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops have increased sharply this year. The officials said that till August 1, there have been 285 such actions by the Pakistan army, while in 2016, the number was significantly less at 228 for the entire year.