MHA Conveys BSF To Go Aggressive Against Pak

29 August 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: India has taken strong exception to Pakistan shelling directly on the civilians and warned Pakistan of more aggressive response if it resorts to any such misadventure in future on the International Border (IB) even as an eerie calm prevailed in RS Pura and Arnia sectors, where three civilians were killed and 17 others were injured in Pakistani firing yesterday. Official sources told the Excelsior that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has conveyed to top brass of the BSF not to show any leniency towards Pakistan and give effective and aggressive response to any fresh shelling or firing by the Pakistani Rangers on the IB. This and some other directions were conveyed to BSF Director General DK Pathak by the MHA after yesterday's shelling on the IB which took three lives on the Indian side and left 17 civilians injured. However, there were reports that eight civilians have been killed and 47 others injured in retaliatory action by the BSF. Sources said the BSF has strengthened its positions all along the IB in Jammu sector in anticipation of inputs that Pakistan after suffering heavy losses in the BSF's retaliatory firing could open up more fronts on the IB. Senior BSF officers have visited the IB, met senior field commanders and instructed them to give an effective response to Pakistan, wherever they open firing. 'The BSF also has reports that Pakistan could try to push militants under the cover of shelling and firing just like they had done on the Line of Control (LoC) in Balakote sector of Poonch district few days back. Pakistan will try to take advantage of shelling to push the militants but the BSF was maintaining high alert to ensure that the militants didn't manage to infiltrate into this side,' sources said. Recently arrested Pakistani militants Mohammad Naved Yaqub had disclosed to the National Investigating Agency (NIA) during questioning that a number of Pakistani militants were camping along LoC and IB awaiting an opportunity to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir under the cover of Pakistan shelling. Naved had infiltrated into the Kashmir valley along with three other militants. Asserting that yesterday's escalated tensions on the borders could cast shadow on DG level talks between BSF and Rangers, which were scheduled to be held from September 9 to 13 in New Delhi, sources observed: 'as of now the talks stand as per schedule'. Noting that India has not lodged any protest with Pakistan over yesterday's shelling and firing directly targeting the civilian population, sources pointed out that there had been no contact between BSF and Rangers since July 15. 'There is no fun of lodging protest with the Pakistani Rangers as they don't mend their ways,' sources said but added that the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) of India was likely to lodge strong protest with his Pakistani counterpart during their weekly hotline contact on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the BSF and civil and police administration have issued an advisory to the people living in the border areas to remain confined to their houses and bunkers and don't venture out in the fields. 'The people living in the border areas have been asked to stay put inside their houses or bunkers or shift to the Government buildings earmarked for them if they deem it fit. They have been asked not to roam in the fields till the things settled down on the borders,' sources said. The situation remained peaceful on the borders today but it was very tense. 'There has been no firing in any part of RS Pura or Arnia sectors since 9 am yesterday but the people were frightened due to heavy firing during wee hours of yesterday morning in which nearly 100 houses and cattle sheds have been damaged, three civilians killed and 17 others injured and several cattle perished,' sources said, adding majority of the border dwellers preferred to stay indoors. Some of the people had moved to houses of their relatives yesterday itself after shelling and firing while some others have shifted their children to safer areas but were themselves staying in the houses.