Two BSF personnel, including an officer, were today killed as Pakistani Rangers targeted Indian posts along the IB here with mortars and firing, a violation which comes nearly a week after DGMOs of both countries agreed to implement the ceasefire pact of 2003 in “letter and spirit”. The heavy firing and mortar shelling from across the border in Pragwal area of Akhnoor and nearby Kanachak and Khour sectors also left 10 persons, including a policeman and a woman injured, and forced people to abandon their homes and rush for safer places. “Pakistan side resorted to unprovoked firing by targeting forward duty points at International Border (IB) in Pragwal around 0115 hours, causing critical injuries to Assistant Sub-inspector S N Yadav (48) and constable V K Pandey,” a senior BSF officer told PTI.
He said both the injured were evacuated to medical facilities but succumbed to injuries. The firing from across the border in violation of the ceasefire agreement prompted a strong and effective retaliation by the BSF, the officer said adding cross-border firing spread to Kanachak and Khour areas as well and was going on when last reports came in. A police official said nine civilians and a policeman were also injured in the Pakistan shelling and were evacuated to hospital.
He identified six of the injured persons as selection grade constable Zakir Khan, Sulakshana Devi (25), Bansi Lal (40), Balwinder Singh (22), Sudhakar Singh (50) and Vikram Singh (34). On May 29, the DGMOs of India and Pakistan agreed to “fully implement” the ceasefire pact of 2003 in “letter and spirit” forthwith to stop border skirmishes in J&K. The two military commanders reviewed the prevailing situation along the LoC and the IB in Jammu and Kashmir during a conversation over the special hotline. The hotline contact was initiated by the Pakistani DGMO.
Following the conversation between Indian DGMO Lt Gen Anil Chauhan and Pakistan’s Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, the two armies issued identical statements saying both sides agreed to implement the 15-year-old ceasefire understanding. The latest deaths in the Pakistani firing raised the casualty figure during ceasefire violations along the IB and the Line of Control (LoC) in the state to 46.The dead includes 20 security personnel.
Last month, thousands of people residing along the IB in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts had to flee their homes following intense shelling from Pakistan between May 15 and May 23 which left 12 people dead, including two BSF jawans and an infant, and scores of others injured.
After the DGMOs of the two countries spoke to each other, hope rekindled among border residents who had started returning to their homes but the latest incident triggered fresh concerns among them and the people in the affected areas started fleeing their homes.