Pak Pounds 20 BSF Posts, Forward Villages In Arnia, RS Pura Sectors

18 August 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Unabated firing and shelling by the Pakistani Rangers overnight led to massive devastation of civilian property in Arnia sector with border villages of Treva, Suhagpur and Pindi worst hit where several cattle were killed or injured and houses suffered extensive damage while one of them completely collapsed. A civilian was seriously injured in the firing and shelling that continued for about five hours from 1 am to 6 am. The BSF retaliated exercising restraint. Pakistan media, however, claimed that two Rangers and a civilian were injured in their forward villages of Charwah and Chaprar in Sialkot district in retaliatory firing by the BSF. Frequent shelling and firing by the Rangers has triggered panic among the people living in forward villages of Arnia and RS Pura sectors with people confining themselves to their houses. The crop season has been suffering immensely as the farmers were not venturing out into the fields anticipating firing from across the border. Official sources and eyewitnesses told the Excelsior that Pakistan Rangers started pounding 20 forward BSF border outposts (BoPs) in Arnia and RS Pura sectors and forward villages with 82mm mortar shells and firing with semi and automatic weapons at around 1 am today. Initially, the BSF exercised restraint and retaliated in calibrated manner but as intensity of firing intensified from the Pakistan side, the BSF gave the matching response. Several mortar shells and bullets fell inside houses of the people in forward villages of Arnia and RS Pura sectors but the worst affected villages were Treva, Suhagpur, Pindi Kudwal, Pindi Charkan, Pindi Khurd and their surroundings, where one of the civilian was injured while houses were damaged. Two cattle were killed and several others were injured after being hit by the bullets and splinters of mortars directly. A house collapsed at Suhagpur. A civilian identified as Attar Singh son of Thakur Maan Singh, a resident of Pindi Kadwal was hit with splinters of mortar shell, which collapsed in his house damaging his collar bone. Getting an SOS from the family, a police team from Arnia police station led by SHO Inspector Kulbir Singh Choudhary rescued the injured civilian in a bullet proof vehicle amidst raining of bullets and mortars from Pakistan side at 3.30 am and shifted him to Government Medical College. Police said Attar Singh was an ex-serviceman from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and was later taken to Military Hospital, Satwari. The BSF, however, didn't suffer any casualties or damage though their nearly 20 posts came under intense firing and shelling from the Rangers in both Arnia and RS Pura sectors. Sources said splinters of mortars and bullets hit cattle sheds in the houses, killing or injuring them. A buffalo of Seeto Devi wife of Palla Ram and a goat of Yash Pal son of Girdhari Lal, both residents of Treva, were killed in the firing while cattle of Krishan Sharma son of Sarban Dass R-o Pindi Charkan Khurd, Romesh Lal son of Girdhari Lal R-o Treva and Romesh Singh son of Babu Singh R-o Pindi Kudwal were injured. Several other cattle also sustained bullet and splinter injuries. A house of Narayan Singh son of Des Raj Saini collapsed with the impact of mortar shell explosion at Suhagpur while several other houses were damaged including those of Karnail Singh son of Amar Singh and Jagdish Singh son of Punjab Singh, residents of Treva. Other houses suffered minor damage. Wind screens, boundary walls and other parts of several houses had been hit by the bullet marks, causing damage to them. A team of Veterinary doctors led by Dr Gourav Choudhary visited forward villages and provided on spot treatment to the injured cattle. The Revenue officials also reached the spot to assess the damage caused to the civilian property. Sources said the BSF had to respond effectively to silence guns of the Rangers, which had been raining bullets and mortars. The firing and shelling stopped at 6 am. Pakistan media claimed that two Rangers and a civilian were injured on their side in retaliatory firing by the BSF. Panic and fear loomed large on the villagers living in forward villages of Arnia and RS Pura sectors especially in Arnia, which had repeatedly been targeted by the Rangers with mortar shelling and firing causing injuries to several civilians and massive damage to the property. The BSF jawans had also been injured earlier in the firing. According to people living in the forward villages, their crops were suffering badly due to the firing as they had not been able to cultivate them as their fields directly fall in firing range of the Pakistani Rangers. 'We have not been visiting our fields. We are not safe even in our houses but to say of taking to the fields. This is the peak season of crops and the Rangers are bent upon destroying that,' the people said calling for an immediate end to the shelling and firing. The residents said they have been confined to their houses even during the day as they didn't know when the Rangers would start pounding their villages. Pakistani troops had yesterday violated the ceasefire twice by resorting to heavily firing with automatic and small arms along Arnia sub-sector in International Border and Hamirpur sub-sector in Jammu and Poonch districts. On August 14, Pakistani troops had resorted to unprovoked small arms and automatic weapons firing on Indian posts along LoC in Hamirpur sector of Poonch district. Besides this, there were two other violations of ceasefire in Balakote (Mendhar) and Hamirpur sectors in Poonch on August 14. On August 13, Pakistani troops had resorted to firing by small arms and automatic weapons on forward posts along LoC in Bhimbher Gali sector of Poonch district, in which one jawan was injured. On August 12, Pakistani Rangers resorted to heavy firing with mortar shells, small arms and automatic weapons on five BoPs and civilian areas along the IB in Arnia-R S Pura areas in Jammu district. Two BSF jawans were among four persons injured on August 11 when Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire by firing with small arms, automatic weapons and mortar shells on 10 border out posts and civilian areas along the International Border in Arnia and RS Pura belts of Jammu district. On August 10, Pakistani troops had violated ceasefire by targeting Indian forward posts with small arms and automatic weapons along the Line of Control in Mendhar sector of Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting Indian forces to retaliate. Pakistani troops had violated the ceasefire on August 8 by resorting to firing on Indian Posts along LoC in Bhimbher Gali sector of Poonch district. On August 5, there was a ceasefire violation along the LoC in Poonch.