Tuesday, December 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

22 Pak soldiers killed in shelling
Tribune News Service and Agencies

Indian soldiers retaliate in Keerni area on the Line of Control in Poonch sector on Monday. 

Villagers migrate to safer places, following tension with Pakistan, in Samba sector, south of Jammu, on Sunday . — PTI photos

Indians gather to watch the Pakistani and Indian border guards perform their daily flag-lowering ceremonies at the Wagah border, some 20 km to the east of Lahore on Monday. — Reuters photo

Jammu, December 24
Twentytwo Pakistani soldiers were killed and at least 21 bunkers destroyed when Indian troops opened retaliatory fire on Pakistani frontier positions in the Karmara and Kerni areas across the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir today.

As many as 62 Pakistani soldiers were also injured and two fuel, oil and lubricants (FOL) depots were also set ablaze in the firing.

A senior military officer of the Northern Command said Pakistani regulars had been firing mortars throughout the morning and afternoon on Indian positions, seriously wounding two villagers and a jawan at Karmara.

Initially the Indian troops resorted to firing 81 mm mortar shells, but as the veracity of Pakistani firepower increased, the Army resorted to artillery shelling, he said.

One heavy machine gun (HMG) bunker was blown to smithereen when an artillery shell hit it.

The firing was on when the reports last came in.

Earlier the Defence Minister landed at Siachen glacier, world’s highest battlefield, to assess the situation and celebrate Christmas with the jawans, Pakistani troops resorted to heavy mortar shelling on this side of the international border in Samba sector today.

Defence Ministry sources said two Army jawans were wounded and two houses and one border observation post were damaged in the mortar shelling.

The Indian troops retaliated hitting Pak bunkers and posts with rocket fire. At least three Pak bunkers were destroyed across Galard post in Samba sector.

The sources said the Pakistani troops had violated established conventions and targeted civilian villages.

As a result of firing and mortar shelling, people in at least 12 villages migrated to safer places in Samba sector. The Pakistani troops also opened fire on the Indian border villages in R.S. Pora sector in which one woman was wounded. In this sector, people living in at least six villages close to the border fled to safer places.

Defence Ministry officials said the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri was quiet today after Pakistani forces suffered heavily in yesterday’s Indian retaliatory fire in Poonch sector.

According to the Brigadier-General, Staff 16 Corps P.C. Das, “Our troops have been placed on high alert with instructions to hit back in case Pakistani forces opened fire.”

Heavy Pakistani mortar shelling and small and medium arms firing was reported from most of the areas along the LoC including Sabzian, Kerni, Mendhar, Poonch, Ghambir, Laam, Bhawani and Mandi areas of Jammu-Poonch sectors since last night, the sources said.


Pak building tension on borders, says India
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 24
India today accused Pakistan of “trying to raise the temperature” along the international borders and “trying to create an impression of tension.”

Stating this here today, Ms Nirupama Rao, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters that Islamabad was not focusing on the “central issue” of terrorism. She said New Delhi already had made available to Pakistan and some western powers “an accumulated body of evidence” which pointed to the involvement of Pakistan-based terrorist groups in terrorist acts in India culminating in the attack on the Parliament House on December 13.

Meanwhile, India today asked Pakistan to withdraw within seven days its High Commission staffer, Mohammad Sharif Khan, caught red-handed while collecting sensitive national security documents from a Parliament official here on December 22.Back

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