January 2018 News

Pak Firing Posts, Fuel, Ammunition Dumps Destroyed

22 January 2018
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: After eliminating more than dozen Pakistani Rangers during ongoing skirmishes on the International Border, the Border Security Force (BSF) has carried out pinpointed retaliatory actions against Pakistani forces and destroyed their firing positions, ammunition and fuel dumps, in which the enemy suffered huge losses, which couldn't be estimated from this side immediately. Heavy shelling and firing from Pakistan side on the International Border in Kanachak, Pargwal, RS Pura, Arnia and Ramgarh sectors in Jammu and Samba districts continued throughout last night and stopped at 5.45 am today. However, there were no ceasefire violations in any part of IB and LoC during the day today. Official sources said the BSF gave suitable and pin pointed retaliation to unprovoked firing by Pakistani forces across IB in Jammu sector. 'At several locations, the enemy's firing positions, ammunition and fuel dumps have been destroyed by precision firing of the border guards,' they added. The BSF also released two videos in support of destruction of Pakistan's firing posts, fuel and ammunition dumps, which clearly showed enemy's posts and dumps going up in flames after the BSF action. According to sources, the Pakistan side has suffered huge devastation in destruction of their ammunition and fuel dumps, apart from firing positions and there were reports of heavy casualties and infrastructural losses of the enemy troops in major offensive undertaken by the BSF. Sources said retaliation to the Rangers was necessitated as Pakistani forward posts were targeting Indian civilian areas in many locations on the International Border. Already more than a dozen Pakistani Rangers have been killed during ongoing five-day long cross-border shelling and firing on the International Border. Sources said number of casualties on Pakistan side could further go up following BSF's fresh retaliatory action. Sources said the BSF has fired over 9,000 rounds of mortar shells across the IB in the past four days as part of 'pinpointed' retaliatory action against Pakistan's unprovoked firing to destroy firing positions and fuel dumps of the Pakistan Rangers at multiple places. Sources said the situation along the 190-km IB in the Jammu area was 'very tense' as Pakistan had 'opened' heavy fire in the entire stretch since last evening. They said the BSF had fired over 9,000 rounds of mortar shells since January 19, after 'Pakistan first breached the peace and hit BSF posts and civilian areas'. The mortar shelling is in addition to an effective retaliation by an assortment of other arms and ammunition, they said. They said the 'Chicken Neck' area of the border in Jammu, near Makwal and Kanachak border posts of the BSF, is also being pounded by the Pakistani forces, which was untouched till now. Sources said the Indian forces have also witnessed the movement of senior commanders of the Rangers and Pakistan army in the forward areas across the border. 'These visits, as we understand, are being undertaken by Pak commanders to motivate their troops who are getting some good pounding from the Indian side and it is also understood that many of their personnel have been hit fatally or have been injured,' they added. All the BSF border posts in the Jammu area have been put on 'high alert' and senior commanders have been asked to be at the front 'at least for the next about a week's time', they said. The BSF has also stepped up the deployment of its 'ambush patrols' along the IB to check infiltration, they said. 'Heavy firing aids infiltration and also security at the borders is already up in the wake of the forthcoming Republic Day celebrations,' they added. Meanwhile, the Rangers continued heavy unprovoked shelling and firing on civilian areas in Pargwal, Kanachak, RS Pura, Arnia and Ramgarh sectors in Jammu and Samba districts overnight. Shelling stopped at 5.45 am and thereafter there was no report of any ceasefire violations on the IB as well as LoC. A BSF jawan Arun Verma son of Kamal Singh Verma R-o Madhya Pradesh was injured in Pakistan shelling in Ramgarh sector last night. He has been hospitalized. A total of 12 persons including seven civilians, three Army soldiers and two BSF jawans have been killed and nearly 60 others, majority of them civilians, left injured during last five days in Pakistan shelling and firing. The border villages in RS Pura and Arnia sectors wore a deserted look with majority of population within three kilometers of the IB having migrated to safer areas. Sources said nearly 40,000 civilians from RS Pura and Arnia sectors have shifted to houses of their relatives and friends or the rehabilitation centres, set up by the administration. About 5,000 civilians have migrated from Ramgarh and Hiranagar sectors. However, people have kept one or two family members in the houses for protection of cattle and household goods. A number of houses have been damaged in Pakistan shelling last night. Reports said some cattle were also killed or injured. Living with the constant fear of Pakistani shelling, displaced border dwellers are scared of returning to their homes and are demanding early sanction of the 'promised' piece of land in safer zones and construction of bunkers. The demands were made by people putting up at three relief camps set up by the State Government in RS Pura for border dwellers who have been bearing the brunt of heavy Pakistani shelling. Last month, the Centre gave a sanction for construction of 14,460 underground bunkers at a cost of Rs 415.73 crore for safety of people living along the LoC and the IB in Jammu division. 'What we are getting is only hollow promises and unabated firing from Pakistan over the last four years. The Government needs to act and provide us the promised five marlas of land away from the firing zone for our safety,' Sudesh Kumari, a resident of Beghwara Choga, said. Kumari is among 150 border residents camping at the Indian Training Institute (ITI) complex in this sector after one of her relatives lost his life in the Pakistani shelling along the International Border in Bhera village on Saturday. 'Hamara Jeena Haraam Ho Gaya Hai' (Our life has become a hell),' she said as nearly three dozen women gathered to condole the demise of her brother-in-law Ghar Singh in the Pakistani shelling seconded the view. Another woman, Suneeta said, 'We are living a life of uncertainty with no future. During firing, we are even unable to help our children to move to safety,' she said, adding 'the lurking threat of Pakistani shelling is taking a toll on our mental health.' Making a passionate appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 75-year-old Krishna Devi from Abdullian said, 'With folded hands, we want to say that we are not even safe in our homes as shells pierce the roof and walls and we should be helped on humanitarian grounds.' Her grandson Pankaj Kumar said they are afraid to go back to their homes. 'The firing was intense (over the past week) and we fear it might continue till Republic Day,' he said. Kumari said they had a narrow escape while fleeing the village as a mortar shell missed them and landed on a tree. 'Had the shell not landed on the tree, it would have hit the vehicle we were travelling in from the village to the rehabilitation camp,' she said. Kanta Devi, a resident of Kapurpur and putting up at Government Boys Higher Secondary School, said, 'The truth is bitter - the Government is not doing enough for our safety and security while the firing from across the border had increased manifold over the years'. 'What we are going through, we pray nobody else should face such a situation,' she said. Kastoori Lal said many VVIPs including Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Javaid Mustafa Mir visited the camp since Saturday and extended condolences to families who lost their dear ones in the Pakistani firing and assured all possible help. 'How long we will stay at the camps? We want Government to fulfill our demand of allotment of land at safer places and early construction of bunkers,' he said. He added there is no alternative to peace. 'We want peaceful atmosphere to return by strictly implementing the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two countries as innocent people are getting killed and displaced on the either side,' he said. For border dwellers of Jammu and Kashmir, the trauma of seeing their loved ones die in front of their eyes is more than the fear of getting caught in the crossfire. The border residents continue to live on the edge, 'hoping against hope' to safeguard themselves and their families from the mortar bombs fired by Pakistani troopers along the International Border (IB). Jeet Raj of Sia Khurd border hamlet says the injuries on his body would heal, but the 'wounds to his heart' would accompany him to his grave. He lost his wife, Bachno Devi, in cross-border mortar shelling on January 19. He and his son were injured in the incident. 'The wounds of my body caused due to splinter injuries will heal with time. But the pain of losing my wife will never leave me,' Raj said as his eyes welled up. 'We were heading to our agricultural field when the shelling started. As we rushed back, a shell exploded in the compound of my house. My wife was hit and she died in front of my eyes,' he said. Raj said he rushed his injured son to the hospital, still grieving the loss of his wife. 'How long should the border dwellers remain sitting ducks and lose our family members to the Pakistani guns,' he asked. Krishen Lal of Korotona hamlet is yet to come to terms with the death of his 25-year-old son in the cross-border firing. 'It is a curse for a father to see his son die so young. I lost my son Sahil to the cross-border shelling. He was an obedient child and used to help me in the fields,' says an emotional Lal, who is undergoing treatment at the Government Medical College. 'We bear the brunt of ceasefire violations. How long will our kith and kin keep getting killed? I want the Government to find a solution to end it once and for all,' he says. Another heart-wrenching tale is that of the family of 17-year-old Ghara Singh of Kapoorpur border hamlet in RS Pura sector. Singh died on Saturday after being caught in the crossfire. As the family prepares for the marriage of his eldest sister, Singh's death has left a large void. 'Pakistani shelling killed my son. This wound to my heart will never heal. I have lost my support,' says Singh's father. 'Ghara was looking forward to his sister's wedding. He was busy arranging the event, but fate snatched him away from us,' the father says as he struggles to complete his sentence.