DG BSF Reviews Situation On IB, Calls For Effective Response

17 July 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Flaring up tensions on the International Border, the Pakistani Rangers fired several mortars in forward areas of Arnia sector throughout the last night and during the day today targeting the BSF posts and civilian areas even as BSF Director General (DG) DK Pathak airdashed to the border and called upon the security personnel to given an effective reply to the firing from Pakistan side. The BSF DG reviewed situation prevailing on the borders in Arnia sector with top brass including the IG and DIGs of Jammu Frontiers after which the BSF sounded a high alert along the IB right from Hiranagar to Akhnoor sector. In another development, police today issued an advisory to the people living in border areas asking them not to venture out of their houses especially during the evening and night hours till the situation returned to normal. DG BSF DK Pathak told select group of reporters in Arnia after visiting the forward posts and high level review of situation in Arnia sector that he has asked his troops to strongly retaliate to Pakistan's firing and give them effective response. 'We will retaliate to Pakistan firing with equal caliber and handout them matching response,' Pathak said, adding the firing from Pakistan side continued till this morning. He added that no flag meeting or hotline contact has taken place between BSF and Rangers on the firing so far. On movement of militants across the IB, Pathak said the movement has almost become a routine and 45 to 50 militants across the IB were awaiting an opportunity to sneak into this side. Within hours of Pathak's statement, a group of five to six militants made a major infiltration attempt on the IB between Bakarpur and Nawa Pind in Gharana area of Suchetgarh sector at 9 pm tonight. Alert BSF jawans lit up the area and fired towards the militants forcing them to retreat, official sources said. They added that the militants were equipped with heavy arms and ammunition and made determined attempt to enter into this side but fled back after finding the BSF jawans on very high alert. After the failed intrusion bid, the Rangers again opened firing in violation of ceasefire agreement at Tent Guard and Pittal Posts of BSF in Pindi area of Arnia at 11.20 pm tonight. The firing was on when the reports last came in. Pathak told the top BSF officers in the meeting at Arnia sector that all measures should be taken to ensure that there were no casualties of civilian or damage to their property. He called upon the BSF officers to remain on high alert all along the IB right from Hiranagar to Akhnoor sector and thwart designs of the Rangers to disturb peace on the borders. Pathak visited several forward posts of the BSF in Arnia sector to boost morale of the BSF jawans. The BSF had lost one jawan in Pakistan firing yesterday while seven others including three BSF personnel and four civilians were injured. He also visited the Government Medical College (GMC) here this morning and inquired condition of injured BSF jawans and civilians. Pathak returned to the Union capital this afternoon and was likely to brief Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the situation prevailing on the borders in Jammu. Meanwhile, there was no let up in heavy firing by the Rangers throughout the last night and this morning. The Rangers also fired some mortars targeting forward BSF posts and villages including Pittal, Pindi, Jabowal, Nikowal, Kaku-De-Kothe, Chingia, Chenaz, Tent etc first from 10.30 pm to 7.30 am and again from 9 am to 10.30 am. The BSF retaliated effectively, sources said, adding that there were no fresh casualties or damage on the Indian side in the Pakistan firing overnight. Casualties or damage, if any, on the Pakistan side was not known. The people in the border areas remained confined to their houses during the day in view of firing. Few people, who had ventured into the fields, returned to their houses. The people had started cultivation of paddy but now they feared that it wouldn't be possible to work in the fields unless normalcy was restored. 'Situation remained tense on the borders with people staying indoors and BSF personnel patrolling the borders retaliating to the Pakistani firing effectively,' sources said. Yesterday, four civilians were hit in Arnia town and forward villages with Pakistani bullets and were injured. After this, the people have stopped venturing out. DIG Jammu-Kathua range Shakeel Beig, who accompanied the BSF DG to the border areas, told the Excelsior that police has issued an advisory to the people living close to the borders to stay indoors during the evening and night hours as a precautionary measure until normalcy was restored on the borders. 'The advisory has been issued in view of injuries suffered by four civilians yesterday. We don't want the lives of the civilians to be put to risk,' Beig said. He added that he has also directed three district police chiefs of Jammu, Samba and Kathua to keep Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) on high alert and step up night patrolling on the borders to ensure that the militants didn't manage to take advantage of firing and infiltrate into this side. On reasons behind sudden escalation of hostilities on the International Border, sources said Pakistan Army and ISI didn't want the Governments of India and Pakistan to come closer as had started happening after takeover of Narendra Modi as new Prime Minister of the country. 'While incidents of firing and IED blasts had been taking place on the LoC, Pakistan has opened up another front on the IB by started unprovoked firing targeting BSF and civilians,' they said, adding that Pakistan Army and ISI wanted to keep the pot boiling on the borders in Jammu and Kashmir to prevent the Governments of India and Pakistan from holding talks.