Pak Ups The Ante, Fires 120 Mm Brand-DTT Mortar Shells On LoC

9 August 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: For the first time during ongoing hostilities between India and Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) this year, Pakistan Army today fired 120 mm Brand-DTT heavy mortar shells in civilian areas and forward Army posts in Sabzian sector of Poonch district causing damage to several houses. Pakistan Army, which was reported to have suffered heavy losses opposite Sabzian sector on their side of the LoC in retaliatory firing by the Indian troops few days back, was constantly shelling and resorting to heavy arms firing in Sabzian sector directly targeting the civilian population and forward Army posts for the past about one week, barring yesterday, when an uneasy calm prevailed in the area. Official sources told the Excelsior that Pakistan Army hadn't been able to cause any major casualties of Army or civilians or damage despite raining 82 mm mortars and opening firing using heavy weapons in the past about one week and it was in view of this that they fired 120 mm Brand-DTT heavy mortar shells in Sabzian throughout the last night. 'This was for the first time this year that Pakistan Army had fired 120 mm Brand-DTT mortars on the LoC, which were capable of causing extensive damage if struck on the target,' sources said, adding the heavy mortars didn't hit the Army posts or houses but exploded in isolated areas. Nearly a dozen houses of the civilians were damaged after being hit by splinters of mortar shells and bullets of heavy firearms. The Indian side responded effectively to silence the Pakistani guns. 'There were no casualties of Army or civilians in the heavy shelling and firing,' sources said. In the earlier shelling, an Army jawan and half a dozen civilians have been injured. According to sources, Pakistan Army has suffered extensive damage in retaliatory firing by the Indian Army and they were now trying to inflict damages on the Indian side but have failed. For the past one week, Pakistan has been resorting to 82mm mortar shelling and firing in Sabzian sector, making lives of civilians tough as they hadn't been able to come out of their houses for working in the fields or carrying out other routine works. The people were confined to their houses for past nearly one week as they feared that continued shelling and firing by the Pakistan Army could put their lives to stake. Sources said Pakistan last night pounded Sabzian with mortar shells and firing from 11.20 pm and continued it till 4.30 pm. However, there were no reports of shelling or firing in Sabzian during the day. Sources said the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) of Indian Army was expected to take up forcefully with his Pakistani counterpart the shelling in civilian areas of Sabzian by Pakistan Army for the past one week during their contact this Tuesday. 'The DGMO would lodge strong protest against Pakistan shelling in civilian areas on the LoC with Pakistan,' sources said. Meanwhile, according to sources, India has strengthened its positions all along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir with the deployment of more troops to effectively meet the challenge of Pakistan Army especially the infiltration attempts, which were likely to witness an increase on the eve of Independence Day and later as a number of militants were camping on launching pads of Pakistani Army awaiting an opportunity to sneak into this side. Sources said Army has strengthened its positions all along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir including twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch to thwart infiltration attempts by the militants and give effective reply to Pakistan Army's ceasefire violations. Army has taken seriously the use of 120 mm Brand-DTT mortar shells by Pakistan Army in the civilian areas of Sabzian. There have been 16 ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in August. On August 7, an Army jawan was injured as Pakistani troops opened fire at villages and forward posts in Poonch district. Pakistani troops had on August 6 resorted to intermittent firing with automatic weapons, rocket projectile grenades and mortar bombs along the LoC in Sabzian sector of Poonch district. On August 5, Pakistani troops had violated the ceasefire twice and targeted Indian forward posts and hamlets, in which three civilians including a woman were injured in Sabzian. A youth was killed and two others, including a BSF jawan, were injured when Pakistani troops had targeted border out posts and hamlets along the International Border in four sectors of Kanachak, Pargwal, Tawi and R S Pura in Jammu district on August 4. On August 2 and 3, Pakistani troops had violated the ceasefire four times by resorting to small arms firing in forward posts along LoC in Krishna Ghati, Mandi, Balakote and Pallanwalla sectors of Poonch and Jammu districts. There were two ceasefire violations on August 1.