Monday, May 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ultras storm Army camp, kill 4
7 Pak troops killed in firing across LoC 
Tribune News Service and Agencies

A boy plays with a shrapnel ridden bucket besides the corpse of a buffalo after Pakistani troops allegedly fired mortar shells on their village of Garkhal in the Akhnoor sector 30 kms west of Jammu on Sunday. Indian and Pakistani troop's traded heavy fire on Sunday, a day after New Delhi expelled Pakistan's chief envoy to protest against a deadly attack it blamed on Pakistan-based Islamic militants.

A villager carries his belongings on a horse-cart as he leaves his village of Gharkhal in the Akhnoor sector, 30 km west of Jammu, after Pakistani troops fired mortar shells on his village on Sunday.
— Reuters photos

Jammu, May 19
In the second major attack in five days, militants stormed an Army camp in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir early today killing four security personnel while losing one of their men, official sources said.

Seven jawans were injured, three of them critically, in the attack by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba militants at around 2 am on the Chasana Army camp in the Reasi area, the sources said.

A report from Srinagar said the Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the strike. “The attack was carried out by our activists”, a Hizbul spokesman said.

Today’s strike comes barely five days after militants attacked an Army camp and a bus near Jammu killing 32 persons.

The sources said a group of two or three militants barged into the camp after killing a security guard on duty. The militants exploded grenades and fired indiscriminately killing three Army personnel and a CRPF jawan.

The attack took place when most of the Army and CRPF personnel were sleeping, the sources said.

The security forces retaliated and in the ensuing gunbattle lasting over three hours, one militant was killed and another injured.

The remaining two militants escaped under the cover of darkness and a massive hunt was on to track them down.

In another gunbattle between militants and security forces at Nougam-Banihal in Doda district last night, an Army jawan was killed.

An employee of Garrison Reserve Engineer Force was shot dead by militants in Doda district.

Meanwhile, five BSF jawans were injured today when their vehicle was blown up by an Improvised Explosive Device planted by militants at Chenani-Gorikund road in Udhampur district in Jammu and Kashmir, the sources said. The injured BSF men, who were on patrol duty, were hospitalised, they said.

Meanwhile, seven Pakistani soldiers were killed and 12 of their bunkers and a watch-tower completely destroyed in the continuing fierce cross border artillery duel along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Kalsian, Laam, Kalaal, Jhangar, Manika and Mahadev areas of the Nowshera sector in Rajouri district this evening.

Highly-placed security sources said here this evening that the continuing crossborder artillery duel had become more fierce amid fresh reports of forces of both the nations pounding each other’s forward positions with increased ferocity.

They said the crossborder firing was continuing sporadically in almost the entire stretch of the LoC in the Nowshera sector, which intensified this evening amid reports of fresh pounding on the frontier positions.

The scale of retaliation by the Indians matched the tremendous fire unleashed by the Pakistani troops from the 10 Corps and plumes of smoke could be seen billowing out of the destroyed Pakistani bunkers

Seven Pakistani soldiers were killed and 12 of their bunkers and a watch-tower destroyed in the raging artillery duel in the Nowshera sector so far, sources said.

The magnitude of firing in the Pallanwala and Pargwal border outposts in the Akhnoor sector has increased since 8.15 p.m. after firing had simmered down following this morning’s fierce gunbattle between the forces of both the neighbouring nations at 10 a.m. the sources informed.

Seven Indian civilians were injured in Pakistani firing in the Pallanwala sector while some shops and business establishments were also completely destroyed when Pakistani shells hit them in the same sector, sources said.

The intensity of crossborder firing along the IB has reportedly become mild in a couple of sectors, but in some the crossborder firing showed no sign of abatement.

Heavy firing is continuing in the Kathua, Ramgarh, Hiranagar, Ranbir Singh Pura and Akhnoor sectors since late last night, they said.

Sources said Pakistani troops opened unprovoked heavy machine gun (HMG) fire at 2 a.m. late last night in the Ramgarh and Hiranagar sectors, to which Indian soldiers manning the frontier positions gave a befitting reply. Pakistani forces then began to fire on forward Indian positions in Ranbir Singh Pura and the remaining sectors, the sources informed.

About a dozen houses at Korotana village were damaged when Pakistani troops fired ‘tracers’ on the village at 6.30 a.m. this morning. It was still not known whether there was any casualty owing to the firing of tracers.

Crossborder firing was continuing ceaselessly on all the border outposts dotting the entire IB when reports last came in, the sources said.

Pakistani troops were reportedly using the expertise of Special Services Group (SSG) commandos in swiftly shifting their gun positions for gaining tactical advantage.

Following Friday’s mass migration of families from border villages, fresh migration of about 800 persons was reported from the Ranbir Singh Pura sector while about 2,200 persons have reportedly fled their homes in the Akhnoor sector in the wake of heavy Pakistani firing last night, taking the total of the number of migrants fleeing the border villages to 15,000. UNI, PTI

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