Sunday, January 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Major bid to capture post
18 Pak soldiers killed
Tribune News Service and agencies

JAMMU, Jan 22 — Indian troops today repulsed a Pakistani attempt to capture a forward post killing 18 enemy soldiers, including a Lieutenant, in the first such operation after the Kargil conflict in Pallanwala area of Akhnoor sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

Five bodies of Pakistani soldiers including that of the officer and three non-commissioned officers, were recovered by Indian troops who lost two of their men in the operation while an equal number were injured.

An Indian civilian, Puran Chand of Gagriyal village, succumbed to his injuries from shell splinters, a defence spokesman said here.

The spokesman said 25 Pakistani soldiers of the 24th Baluch Regiment supported by machine guns, recoil-less guns and rocket launchers attacked the ‘PP-13’ post near Raipur in Akhnoor sector around 5.30 am.

“The attack was repulsed with heavy casualties on the enemy by our vigilant troops of Grenadiers,” he said. Three rifles, six carbines, a universal machine gun and two rocket-propelled grenades were recovered by the Indian troops.

“Pakistani soldiers were seen dragging bodies from the bunker,” the spokesman said adding in the retaliatory mortar fire by Indian troops an enemy ammunition bunker was blown off on the Pakistani post opposite the Indian one.

The spokesman said three Pakistani rifles, six carbines, a universal machine gun and a rocket launcher were recovered by Indian troops.

Two bodies were lying in sarkanda close to the post and had so far not been taken away due to heavy Pakistani mortar fire.

In another incident, two Pakistani soldiers were killed in a patrol clash on the LoC in the Sunderbani sector.

According to reports Pakistani agencies have been making a desperate bid to kick up subversive activities during the Republic Day celebrations. To achieve this objective, they have been pushing into the Indian territory armymen and militants from across the LoC in Akhnoor sector and from across the International Border in R.S. Pora and Samba.

A group of militants led by Arshad Hussain has reportedly sneaked into Jammu city to create disturbances during and after the Republic Day celebrations. This group is said to be trained in the use of rifles grenades.

Official reports said heavy exchange of fire and shelling also took place between the two sides at Jogwan, Hamirpur, Gagriyal and Pargwal areas of Akhnoor sector since last night, in which one civilian was killed and five were injured.


India ‘crossed’ LoC

ISLAMABAD, Jan 22 (PTI) — Pakistan today claimed that Indian forces crossed the Line of Control in the Iftikharabad sub-sector in the Chumb area and attacked a Pakistani post killing two soldiers while five others were missing.

Foreign office spokesman Tariq Altaf told reporters here that Indian forces had crossed the LoC at 3.30 a.m. “and launched a company strength attack on a small and long-existing Pakistani post between the two channels of the Tawi river.

This act of flagrant aggression was preceded by intense Indian mortar fire which damaged bunkers of the Pakistani post.”

He said the latest reports indicated that firing by Indian forces continued “our forces are taking appropriate action to defend and stabilise the situation.”


2 Indian posts with Pak?
From M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, Jan 22 — Have the Pakistani troops captured two Indian posts in the Batalik sub-sector of Kargil in recent days?

This question has assumed importance as the Defence Ministry and the state government hold divergent views on the issue. According to state government reports the Pakistani troops have captured an Indian post in Dah village called the Haryali post atop Batalik hills.

Government functionaries are of the view that Pakistani on finding the two posts unmanned have grabbed these.

However, Defence Ministry officials express ignorance about the incident and say an Army column has been on regular patrolling in Dah and adjoining areas because the belt has been a conventional infiltration route.

They say after routine patrolling the Army column returned to the base camp. This was misinterpreted, as withdrawal of Indian troops from the posts on their capture by Pakistan.

On the other hand, the state government functionaries insist that field reports regarding capture of the two posts are correct. They say even in May last the state government agencies had been the first to inform about massive infiltration from across the Line of Control in Kargil and Dras.

Following the Kargil conflict, India decided to leave no post on icy height in Kargil and Dras unmanned during the winter months. This programme was put into practice soon after the conflict ended in July last. Despite arctic condition, which have left scores of Indian soldiers maimed because of frostbite and other weather- related problems, the Indian soldiers have stuck to their posts to prevent enemy soldiers and militants from crossing into the Indian territory in the upper reaches of Kargil and Dras as had happened in May last year.

During the past one year, Pakistani agencies have been trying to carve out infiltration routes from across Dras and Kargil and occupy vantage posts in a bid to snap the only road link between Dras and Kargil and Kargil and Leh.

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