Mosque, Houses Damaged As Pak Opens New Front In Rajouri

20 August 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Pakistan tonight opened another front by resorting to indiscriminate and unprovoked firing at forward Mangalnarh village in Manjakote sector of Rajouri district damaging a Mosque and two houses and spreading panic among the people living along the Line of Control (LoC). The firing in Rajouri sector came within 24 hours of a major infiltration attempt by the militants under the cover of ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Balakote sector of Poonch district. In another development, security forces and police have asked the people putting up in forward villages of Arnia and RS Pura sector on the International Border through the Panchayat members to keep their lights switched off after sunset and confine themselves to houses during the night as they anticipate that Pakistan could resort to mischief after India called off Foreign Secretary level talks to protest Pakistan High Commission's meeting with the Kashmir separatists. Official sources told the Excelsior that Pakistan Army opened indiscriminate firing with heavy weapons in forward village of Mangalnarh on the LoC in Manjakote sector of Rajouri district at 9.45 pm tonight directly targeting civilian population and religious place. Bullets fired by the Pakistan Army hit a Mosque and two houses, causing damage to them. The houses, where bullets fell inside, belonged to Mohammad Iqbal and Mohammad Akram, both residents of Mangalnarh. Both the houses were damaged in the firing. The firing continued till late tonight when the reports last came in, sources said adding that the Indian side retaliated effectively to silence the Pakistani guns. Pakistan Army used heavy automatic weapons in the firing, a result of which the bullets directly hit the Mosque and houses of the people, damaging them. Sources said there was strong resentment among the people over firing on the Mosque. The firing in Manjakote sector of Rajouri district was third front opened by Pakistan tonight as earlier they had been resorting to firing and shelling in Balakote and Mendhar sectors of Poonch and Arnia and RS Pura sectors of IB in Jammu. SSP Rajouri Mubassir Latifi said police today recovered six smoke grenades after they were detected in a field at village Chatyar in Chingus area of Rajouri district by a civilian Kakaram son of Daulat Ram while leveling his fields. He added that a joint team of Bomb Disposal Squad, Rajouri and 25 Division of Engineering Regiment destroyed the shells. Meanwhile, the people in Arnia and RS Pura sectors telephonically confirmed that they have been conveyed the directive of through the Panchayat members on behalf of security forces and police to keep the lights off after sun set and stay indoors or in the bunkers. The development came even as Army foiled a major infiltration attempt by about half a dozen militants along the Line of Control (LoC) under the cover of ceasefire violation by the Pakistan Army in Balakote sector late last night. Sources said that security forces and police have briefed the Panchayat members to sound all villagers living in forward areas of Arnia and RS Pura sectors to keep their lights off after the sunset and confine themselves to the bunkers or inside their houses to the maximum possible extent. They have also been asked to keep their cattle inside the houses. They said the people have also been briefed to keep off the farming activity for some days especially in the areas, which directly fall within firing range of Pakistan. The civilians confirmed having received the directive and said they have started acting on it. The people, however, said they wouldn't migrate from the villages and stay put there to boost morale of the security forces. Though the guns have fallen silent along the International Border (IB) since 6 am Monday, sources said the new development of India taking tough stand against Pakistan by calling off Foreign Secretary level talks could lead to fresh provocation from Pakistan, which was frustrated by the Indian snub. Moreover, they said, Pakistan was also facing internal crisis due to march to Parliament by Imran Khan's party and leading religious cleric. Sources said the firing of light mortars by Pakistan along the International Border recently, which caused huge devastation of civil property, is a matter of concern as it indicates that some Pakistan Army personnel might have mixed up with the Rangers to shell Indian posts and villages. Meanwhile, shifting focus on the LoC, Pakistan Army last night opened firing on forward Indian positions in Tarkundi forests, Panjani Nullah Nandi Tekri, MS Tekri and surrounding areas of Balakote sector in an attempt to give cover to the militants trying to infiltrate into the Indian territory. Pakistan Army started firing at 8.30 pm. They used semi automatic and automatic weapons in the firing. Initially intensity of the firing was low but gradually it went up. The firing stopped around 10 pm, sources said, adding that a group of about half a dozen militants tried to infiltrate into the Indian territory under the cover of Pakistani firing. Troops spotted the infiltrators and opened firing to neutralize them. The infiltration attempt was foiled and the militants retreated to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) from where they had been launched into this side. Army launched a massive search operation in Balakote during the day today but there were no traces of militants, who had retreated to PoK.