September 2017 News

Jawan Martyred, BSF Retaliates Killing 4 Pakistanis On IB

15 September 2017
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: After Line of Control (LoC), tensions escalated on the International Border, where the Pakistani Rangers shelled forward Indian villages and posts in Arnia sector early today in which a BSF jawan was martyred and a civilian was injured while in retaliation, Pakistan suffered four casualties including two Rangers. Pakistan confirmed its casualties and summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh in Islamabad to lodge protest. Acting swiftly, the administration put its 'Contingency Plan' for the border villagers for three districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua immediately in place and ordered closure of educational institutions falling within the firing range on the International Border in Arnia sector and surrounding areas to avoid any eventuality, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Dr Mandeep K Bhandari told the Excelsior. A number of houses were damaged in half a dozen villages of Arnia, which were shelled in wee hours of this morning by the Pakistani Rangers while some cattle were also injured as sudden shelling and firing from across the border took the people by surprise. The firing has also caused panic among the border dwellers with last year's incidents still fresh in their minds when more than a dozen civilians were killed and scores of others were injured in October-November in Pakistan shelling and firing. Official sources said the Rangers started heavy firing, followed by 81mm mortar shelling, at Devigarh, Sei, Nikowal, Kaku De Kothe, Sei Khurd and surrounding villages of Arnia sector in Jammu district targeting forward BSF posts and civilian areas at around 1.15 am. The BSF immediately retaliated from their all forward posts. Sources described exchange of shelling and firing for first two hours as 'very intense', which later came down but continued till 6 am. During the day, intermittent exchange of small arms firing continued forcing people in majority of forward villages to stay indoors. Sources said a sniper shot fired by the Rangers hit the BSF post in forward village of Chenaz in Arnia sector around 1.30 am in which a BSF jawan was seriously injured. He was evacuated from the site of firing and shifted to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. The martyr jawan has been identified as Brijendra Bahadur Singh son of Ashok Singh, a resident of Balia, Uttar Pradesh. A civilian Ajay Kumar, 32, son of Kaka Ram was also hit by splinters of mortar shells and injured near his house at village Powal in Arnia sector. In heavy retaliation by the BSF, Pakistan was reported to have suffered at least four casualties including two Rangers and an equal number of civilians in Sialkot sector opposite the International Border of Arnia and RS Pura, sources said. Pakistan summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh in Islamabad and lodged protest over the killings. A senior BSF officer confirmed killing of two Pakistani Rangers in retaliatory firing. Sources said heavy retaliation to the Pakistani shelling and firing had been necessitated to silence Pakistani guns, which had directly been targeting civilian population in the border areas of Arnia sector and there were apprehensions of civilian casualties. Pakistan suffered losses in retaliatory firing by the BSF, sources said. A number of houses in forward villages of Arnia sector were hit by mortars and their splinters causing damage to them while some cattle were also injured. In most of the villages, the people didn't come out and preferred to stay indoors in anticipation of fresh shelling by Pakistan in frustration. In the morning, the administration ordered closure of both Government and private educational institutions in Arnia sector, which falls within the firing range. The people were also advised not to venture out unnecessarily. In the meantime, the authorities have put 'Contingency Plan' in place in all three border districts of Jammu including Jammu, Samba and Kathua. The Contingency Plan included lodging of the border dwellers at the designated schools and other Government buildings if there was any migration from the forward areas due to Pakistan shelling and firing. However, till late tonight, there was no migration from any village on the International Border even as the panic gripped the people. The border villagers preferred to stay in their houses along with their cattle etc saying they were shift to the migrant camps only in extreme circumstances. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, IG BSF, Jammu Frontiers, Ram Awatar, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Dr Mandeep K Bhandari, IGP Jammu, Dr SD Singh Jamwal , Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Kumar Rajeev Ranjan and senior BSF officers and jawans paid tributes to martyr BSF jawan Brijendra Singh at BSF Headquarters, Paloura during wreath laying ceremony. Speaking to media persons after paying tributes to the jawan, Dr Nirmal Singh said Pakistan was frustrated after the killing of top commanders of militants in Kashmir, the latest being Abu Ismail, who was eliminated yesterday. 'Pakistan is a nation of cowards, It has failed on all fronts. It was now trying to target innocent civilians on borders but Army and BSF were giving befitting reply,' Dr Singh said, adding that Pakistan will have to face serious consequences for its acts of unprovoked shelling and firing. Nirmal Singh said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently toured border areas, met the people there and listened to their grievances, which would be addressed. He disclosed that a strategy has been put in place to counter Pakistan's evil designs on the borders. Lauding the people of border areas for their bravery, the Deputy Chief Minister described them as 'real heroes'. Talking to media persons, BSF IG, Jammu Frontiers, Ram Awatar asserted that suitable reply has been given to Pakistan and that security forces were ready to face any challenge on borders. 'Pakistan is violating ceasefire out of frustration and we are giving appropriate reply to them,' the IG said. 'Pakistan under the cover of bullets is trying to push infiltrators on our side but our jawans are keeping vigil and will not allow them to succeed in their nefarious design,' Awatar said. He said launching pads continued to exist across the borders 'in the coming days challenges are there but we are ready to face any eventuality just the way, we are facing the situation at present and giving befitting reply to Pakistani misadventures. Avtar, however, confirmed that two Pakistani soldiers have also been killed across the border in Arnia sector in retaliatory firing by the BSF.