SI killed, civilian hurt in hostile firing from Pak at IB20 September 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: The militants, backed by Pakistan Rangers, today resorted to day light firing on a patrol party of the Border Security Force (BSF) in forward area of Benglard in Samba sector this afternoon killing a Sub Inspector and injuring a civilian. This is after nearly after two years that the BSF suffered a fatal casualty in Samba sector. After a long gap, the militants, backed by the Rangers, targeted the civilians working in the fields. Some other civilians, working in their fields, had a narrow escape. The Sub Inspector killed in the firing has been identified as Ram Chand Rana of 59 battalion of BSF (No. 786110203), a resident of Saket Colony, Azadpur, Dehradun in Uttaranchal while the injured civilian was identified as Sudesh Kumar son of Om Prakash, a resident of Galard, who was driving a tractor in his fields. BSF DIG (Operations), Jammu Frontiers, JS Oberoi told the Excelsior that 'hostile elements’’ from across the International Border (IB) opened firing on a BSF patrol party in forward area of Benglard in Samba sector at 4 pm. The firing was directly aimed at the BSF patrol party, which was being led by SI Ram Chand Rana. At the same time, some civilians were also working in their fields. Rana was hit by a volley of sniper shots fired from Pakistan leading to serious injuries to him. The civilian, Sudesh Kumar was hit by pellets on his elbow. Both of them were rushed to District Hospital, Samba where Rana was declared dead while the civilian was admitted. His condition was stated to be stable. Body of Rana has been shifted to a camp and would be taken to BSF Headquarters for tributes before being airlifted to Dehradun for cremation. BSF sources said the firing might have been resorted to by 'hostile elements’’, an indication towards militants, with the backing of Rangers to target security personnel as the ultras hadn’t been able to infiltrate through the IB for last more than one and a half year. 'It appeared that the militants fired at the BSF patrol as security personnel were engaged in clearing ‘sarkanda’ from the forward areas ahead of fencing, which was used by the infiltrators to sneak in. The militants take cover of grown up ‘sarkanda’ during infiltration and it was being cleaned by the security personnel to thwart the militant designs’’, they said, adding this appeared to be the apparent reason for the militants, backed by the Rangers, to resort to firing on the BSF jawans and civilians. However, a possibility of direct firing by the Rangers on the BSF and the civilians has also not been ruled out, sources said, adding, since the sniper rifles are being used mostly by the militants, the chances were that they opened firing with the help of Rangers. Senior BSF officers including IG BSF, Jammu Frontiers, Ashok Kumar Jain and DIG BSF Varinder Singh rushed to the site of firing immediately after getting a report. They supervised the spot and boosted morale of the BSF jawans. They called upon the security personnel to remain alert as the militants could make fresh infiltration attempts from across the IB. The BSF officers visited various forward posts and inter-acted with the jawans. Later, the IG BSF also visited District Hospital, Samba and inquired condition of injured civilian, Sudesh Kumar. He was in the hospital for about half an hour. A protest was immediately lodged with the Rangers. To upgrade level of the protest, the BSF have called the Wing Commander (of the Rangers) for a flag meeting tomorrow. Sources said the BSF would lodge a strong protest with the Rangers over ‘ceasefire violation’ or firing by the militants leading the killing of a BSF Sub Inspector and injuries to a civilian, sources said. In November 2009, a BSF DIG O P Tanwar of Gurgaon, Haryana was killed in an IED planted by the militants while fleeing back to Pakistan after the failed infiltration attempt in Ramgarh sector in Samba district. However, it was first BSF casualty in direct firing either by the Rangers or by the militants after a long time on the IB in Samba sector. Also, it was after a long gap that the civilians working in their fields were targeted in the firing, leading to injuries to one of them while many others had a miraculous escape. A tractor being used by the farmers for cultivation of their land in the forward area was also hit by the bullets, sources said. The ceasefire between Indo-Pak troops had come into force in November 2003 at both the Line of Control (LoC) as well as the IB. Prior to ceasefire, the civilians had become targets of Pakistan Army and BSF firing in the forward villages. However, after ceasefire, the villagers had started cultivation of their land in forward areas including the field falling beyond the fencing. After a long time, the civilians working in the fields were fired upon from across the border. The panic-stricken farmers later left the fields and took shelter in their houses fearing another round of firing. Many civilians said they were reminded of pre-ceasefire violation days during today’s firing on them. Injured civilian Sudesh Kumar, who was out of danger, said the BSF jawans and civilians were directly fired upon. He said he saw the BSF Sub Inspector falling down after being hit by a volley of shots. Sources said some of the BSF personnel were patrolling the forward area of Benglard while others were engaged in cutting grown up ‘sarkanda’ to ensure that the infiltrators didn’t manage to take its cover during the night. The BSF had reports that the militants, whose number had increased in launching pads near the posts of Rangers opposite the IB, were desperate to sneak into this side taking cover of ‘sarkanda’ and firing by the Rangers. Finding ‘sarkanda’ being cut by the BSF, which was to be used by the infiltrators to take cover during intrusions into this side, a possibility that the militants having directly fired at the BSF and the civilians was bit ruled out, they said. Late in the evening, some shots were also heard at forward village of Chak Faqira in Samba sector. Recently, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had stated that terror camps have been re-activated across the border and there was need for security forces and police to remain on high alert. Sources confirmed that number of the militants camping at launching pads along IB in Pakistan opposite Jammu sector had increased and the groups were desperate to sneak in. On September 12 night, a group of four militants had tried to intrude into this side from Nursery Post along Basantar in Ramgarh sector. After heavy firing, the BSF had pushed back the militants.