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Pak fires on 11 posts in Poonch for 9 hrs
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria & Darshan Bharti/TNS

Jammu/Poonch/Kochi, Aug 12
In the fifth ceasefire violation in three days, Pakistani troops opened heavy fire on 11 Indian forward posts for over nine hours on the intervening night of August 11 and 12 along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district.

Indian troops retaliated effectively and the heavy exchange of fire, which began around 9.50 pm last night, continued till 7 am this morning.

Meanwhile in Kochi, Defence Minister AK Antony said that the armed forces had the freedom to respond to the developing situation appropriately.

In Islamabad, the Pakistan Foreign Office today summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gopal Baglay to protest "ceasefire violations" by the BSF along the LoC, claiming that it had resulted in the death of a civilian at Rawalakot in PoK.

Pakistan also asked India to uphold the 2003 ceasefire agreement while committing itself to a "constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement" between the two countries.

In the evening today, Pakistan Rangers opened small arms fire on an Indian forward post in Hiranagar sub-sector of Samba district.

“Around 7.50 pm, Pakistan Rangers opened small arms fire on Kothe post of the BSF in Hiranagar sub-sector. The BSF gave them a calibrated response,” said a BSF spokesperson. There was no casualty or injury to the BSF border guards due to the Pakistani firing.

On the ceasefire violation last night on the LoC, Jammu-based officiating Defence PRO SN Acharya today said, “Around 9.50 pm last night, Pakistani troops opened heavy fire with small arms, mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades on Indian forward posts in the Durga Battalion area.” The Durga Battalion area is 245 km northwest of Jammu. “Our troops effectively retaliated and gave them a matching response. There was no casualty or injury to our troops in the latest skirmish,” he said. The Defence Ministry official described it as yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistan.

Though the official said that Pakistani troops targeted three to four posts in the Durga Battalion area, reports said at least 11 forward posts in Digwar, Salotri, Malti and Mankote in the Durga Battalion area along the LoC were targeted. Acharya said the situation was tense along the LoC.

Sources said that Pakistan troops also opened fire on residential areas in Salotri village. “Over two dozen 82 MM mortar shells were fired at residential areas in Salotri. These caused extensive damage to walls, water tanks and power supply lines,” said Netar Parkash, a local from Salotri village.

Pakistan troops yesterday had also resorted to heavy firing on Indian posts in Sabra Gai and Balakote sector along the de-facto border.

Constable Pawan Kumar, a BSF border guard who was critically injured in sniper fire by Pakistan Rangers near the Alpha Machail post along the international border in Kanachak sector, was flown to Delhi for specialised treatment. He had received bullet injuries on his chest and legs. He has been paralysed as the bullet pierced his spinal cord.

On the night of August 5 and 6, Pakistani army’s Border Action Team had had killed five Indian troopers in the Sarla Battalion area in Chakan-da-Bagh.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the launch of indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in Kochi today, Defence Minister AK Antony said that the armed forces had the freedom to respond to the developing situation appropriately.





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