Pak Shells 18 Posts, Villages; Youth Killed

4 August 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Pargwal-Kanachak: A youth was killed and four, including a BSF constable, injured as Pakistan attacked with 81-mm mortars - a battalion-level weapon, and opened automatic weapons' fire on 18 Indian posts and several forward villages along the international border in Kanachak, Pargwal and RS Pura sectors of Jammu district. The deceased was identified as Sanjay Kumar Sharma (28) of Hamirpur Kona village in Pargwal. The injured were identified as BSF constable Arjun YC, Sanjeev Singh Choudhary of Shamka, Rachpal Singh of Tonkanwali in RS Pura sector and 15-year-old Bachan Singh of Hamirpur Kona village. Sanjay was working in his fields this morning when he was hit by a mortar. Amid intense shelling, BSF personnel evacuated him, but he died on his way to the Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu. Sensing the situation, the administration closed all government schools in Pargwal and Kanachak around 9:30 am. Pakistani shelling started around 5:50 am at Kanachak. It then spread to Pargwal and Tawi belt area of RS Pura sector. A few mortars hit houses in Rajpura, Hamirpur Kona and Garkhal villages, triggering panic among residents. Hamirpur Kona, Najwal, Nikowal, Rakh Kharoon, Garkhal, Nar Singh Pura, Pargwal, Molu, Mala Bela, Kanachak, Lalyal, Lalyal Camp, Galbadein, Abdulian, Chandu Chak, Shamka and Tonkanwali villages were targeted by the Rangers. Elderly residents of Rakh Kharoon village, 1 km from Khairi post of Pakistan, like Puran Chand, Gian Chand, Bheema Ram, Des Raj and Bodh Raj rued that there were no medical facilities and ambulances to treat and shift the injured. 'Our children in government schools between 150 metres and 1 km from the Zero Line which do not have boundary walls are sitting ducks for Pakistani guns. Two days back, machine gun bullets hit the classroom of a primary school. Luckily, no child was hurt,' said Gian Chand. From 9:45 am to 12:45 pm, the Pakistani side shelled six Indian posts, Allah Mai de Kothe, Mangral, Sangral, Abdulian, Korotana Khurd and Tubewell No. 5 in RS Pura sector. Some residents fled their villages and took shelter in houses of relatives at safer places. RK Sharma, Jammu Frontier IG, BSF, said, 'Two terrorists were seen hiding in a nullah in our territory this morning. Since they could have attacked our posts, our men opened a few rounds of fire. Within no time, the Rangers started firing mortars at us. It seemed that they had premediated plans.' He said the BSF initially exercised restraint and gave a calibrated response, but Pakistan spread firing to Pargwal. Around 12 noon, he ordered severe and effective retaliation and the exchange of fire stopped around 4 pm, he said. The IG added that the BSF had alerted the civil administration to shift civilians to safer places as it anticipated more firing tonight. It issued an advisory, asking civilians to move to safety, he added. Jammu Deputy Commissioner Simrandeep Singh said following the BSF advisory, the administration might shift villagers to safer places before dusk. There were 19 ceasefire violations along the border in July, in which four persons, including three jawans, were killed and 14 injured.