Tension scales at Indo-Pak border; 3 civilians killed

RSTV Bureau
Army personnel take positions during an encounter with the militants near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.  Photo - PTI

Army personnel take positions during an encounter with the militants near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
Photo – PTI

Three civilians were killed in a mortar shelling by the Pakistan forces in another ceasefire violation along the International Border (IB) in RS Pura sector of Jammu at the wee hours on Friday. The shelling and incessant firing have left at least 17 people injured. According to the defence officials, the shelling began at around 1am after which the Indian side also retaliated. As per the latest reports, the exchange of fire between the two sides is still going on.

“Pakistan Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing. Initially, small arms were used but later on mortars bombs were shelled on BSF posts and civilian areas in RS Pura and Arnia sectors since midnight,” the BSF spokesman told the news agency.

This is not the first time the Pakistan side has violated the ceasefire. For the last few weeks there has been repeated ceasefire violation by the Pakistan army and the Pakistan rangers along the International Border and the LoC.

Earlier, on Tuesday, an Indian Army officer was killed in firing by Pakistani soldiers in the Nowgam sector in the Jammu and Kashmir. A Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of Army was also killed after been hit by the Pakistani sniper near the Line of Control (LoC) in Nowgam sector, Kupwara.

On Independence Day, six civilians, including a sarpanch, were killed and five others injured in heavy firing and mortar bomb shelling by Pakistani troops at several Indian posts and civilian areas. In July alone, there were 19 ceasefire violations that has left four persons, including three jawans, dead.

Pakistani Rangers had pounded civilian areas and military positions along the International Border (IB) in R S pura and Arnia sectors of Jammu district on the intervening night of August 17-18, injuring a villager. This was followed by the ceasefire violations in Saujiyan and Mandi sectors of Poonch district and shelled forward posts and civilian areas with 120 mm and 82 mm mortar bombs and heavy machine guns (HMGs).

The incidents have further scaled up after the renewed tension between the two neighbour nations after the cancellation of NSA-level talks in New Delhi. Both the sides were expected to take up the issue of cross border firing and ceasefire violation in the talks which were scheduled to be held on the August 23 and 24.

Speaking on the fresh ceasefire violations along the border, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday called for “cooler heads” and “better sense” along the International Border between India and Pakistan.

“What a terrible start to the day. I hope cooler heads and better sense prevail. Thoughts and prayers with all affected,” the former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir wrote on the mirco-blogging site Twitter.

(With inputs from the PTI)