Serious cease-fire violations at two places in Poonch15 July 2010
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: In most serious cease-fire violations of recent times, Pakistan Army tonight simultaneously opened heavy firing in Jhalas, about three kms from Poonch town and Krishna Ghati sector on the Line of Control (LoC) in an attempt to infiltrate militants into this side. Entire Poonch town and villages surrounding the two sectors have been put on a very high alert with police, para-military and VDCs out on night patrols while troops have appropriately responded to thwart Pakistan Army’s plot. On the International Border (IB) also, the Rangers fired few shots on Indian positions at Kharkola Post near Hansu Chak in Badyal Brahamana area of RS Pura sector this evening. Pakistan firing on LoC and IB came at a time when External Affairs Minister S M Krishna was in Pakistan meeting Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and his counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi today. Official sources said Pakistan Army started heavy volume of firing from their forward posts in Krishna Ghati and Jhalas sectors at 9 pm tonight reportedly with a view to push infiltrators into this side. 'The Pakistani Army was anticipating withdrawal of some troops from these two sectors for search operation in Beri Rakh forests of Mendhar in which two militants were killed today. They tried to push the militants hoping to take advantage of the situation but failed’’, they said. It may be mentioned here that a large number of troops have combed Beri Rakh forests for last three days in search of a group of four to six militants, two of whom fell to the bullets today. An Army Major was killed while a Colonel was among six soldiers injured in the operation earlier. Such was the intensity of firing in Jhalas sector that sound of firing was heard in entire Poonch town. Volume of firing was very heavy till 11.30 pm while it came down slightly thereafter but continued intermittently till mid-night. Army PRO Lt Col Viplav Nath said Pakistan Army resorted to heavy firing in Krishna Ghati sector at 9 pm today. It was a clear case of cease-fire violation, he said, adding 'our troops responded appropriately’’. There were no casualties on our side, Lt Col Nath said, adding an infiltration attempt by the militants under covering fire can’t be ruled out. Sources said Indian side is reported to have retaliated effectively to ensure that the militants didn’t manage to infiltrate under the cover of Pakistan firing and darkness. Heavy arms and shells were used by Pakistan during the firing. SSP Poonch Manmohan Singh said all police stations, SOG personnel and Village Defence Committees (VDCs) have been put on high alert in forward villages of Krishna Ghati, Jhalas and Poonch town and asked to maintain a strict vigil in their areas in view of intrusion bid by the militants. Sources said movement of some militants was observed in Pakistan Army’s forward posts of Chua and Daku opposite Kranti and Kirpan posts of Indian side during the firing. There were reports that a number of militants were hiding in launching pads close to Pakistan Army’s posts on LoC awaiting an opportunity to sneak-in. Recent spurt in cease-fire violations by Pakistan Army and Rangers at both LoC and IB was aimed at pushing dreaded Pakistani militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) into this side. However, majority of infiltration attempts have been foiled by Army and BSF. On the IB, Pakistan Rangers fired few shots between 7 pm to 8 pm at Kharkola Post near Hansu Chak in Badyal Brahamana area of RS Pura sector. Reasons behind the firing couldn’t be ascertained. Troops of 122 BSF in the area were already maintaining a high alert on the IB. This was the second time in 10 days that Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian positions at Krishna Ghati sub sector. Pakistani troops had fired at forward positions along the Line of Control in Krishna Ghati area of Poonch sector on July 5 night. On July 9, Pakistani Rangers had violated the ceasefire by resorting to small arms firing along International Border on Khawara Border Out Post in Mawa belt of Samba district. Pakistani troops had last violated the ceasefire on July 7 when they opened fire at the Chak Phagwari BOP in Pargwal in Jammu. On July 6, Pakistani troops had fired at Pindi, Mala Bela and Chak Phagwari border outpost around 2230 in which a BSF jawan was killed and a villager injured. Pakistani troops had also fired at the Chak Phagwari BOP on July 5 and killed BSF trooper Sultan Ali. Earlier, Pakistani troops had also violated the ceasefire last month when they fired at a forward outpost along the International Border in Jammu on June 21.