Skirmish ends on LoC, flag meeting held

29 July 2008
The Hindu

Nowgam Sector: The skirmish between Indian and Pakistani troops on the Line of Control (LoC) ended on Tuesday and was followed by a flag meeting between the two sides to discuss the issue of violation of ceasefire. Even as no journalist was allowed to visit the area beyond a check-post here, reports said that the situation along the LoC was still tense after Monday’s incident of Pakistani soldiers sneaking into this side and resulting in heavy gunfight. “You do not have permission to go ahead. You should get permission from the Ministry of Defence, Delhi,” an Army officer curtly told the journalists. As the guns fell silent in Eagle Post area in Nowgam sector of the border district Kupwara, the Indian side proposed to hold a flag meeting by establishing contact with the Pakistani side through the hotline. Defence spokesman Col. Anil Kumar Mathur told The Hindu that the meeting took place around 12 noon in Teetwal, close to the LoC in which both sides were represented by respective battalion commanders stationed in the area. “We registered our protest that Pakistani soldiers had not only violated the ceasefire which is in force since November 2003 but also violated the LoC by crossing it which is not acceptable to us,” Col. Mathur said. He said that Pakistan assured that all the issues would be resolved amicably. Both the sides agreed to deal with the issues at the level of battalion commanders and the Directors-General of Military Operations. “It is a very serious issue. The Pakistanis have been violating the ceasefire over the past few months, but this is the first time they physically moved in and killed a colleague of ours,” the spokesman said. But he maintained that the situation was returning to normality and calm prevailed on the borders. Col. Mathur said that the Indian side never claimed that four Pakistani soldiers had been killed in the fighting. Those were reports which emanated from somewhere but we never said that as “we had not seen anybody dying.” He said that the Defence authorities only confirmed death of a soldier on this side and the “rest were rumours.” The people living near the border areas are praying for the longevity of the ceasefire. Tension was palpable in this sector on Tuesday as people apprehended more trouble on the borders after the incident. The residents urged both India and Pakistan to continue the ceasefire for the welfare of the people.