M A I N   N E W S

Border flare-up: 25 J-K posts shelled
* Woman dies as 23 border villages targeted
* Pak not responding to calls for flag meet: BSF
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria & Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

Jammu/New Delhi, August 24
Cross-border skirmishes, which the Indian side says are provoked by Pakistan border guards, are persisting with alarming regularity.

Pakistan Rangers shelled 25 Indian outposts and 23 villages since Saturday night along the International Border in the RS Pura sector of Jammu, inviting strong retaliation from the BSF. The flare-up has instilled fear among hundreds of villagers who are forced to spend nights in bunkers, or take whatever cover they can afford.

An old woman, having a heart ailment, died of shock after a mortar shell exploded near her house in Suchetgarh. She has been identified as Beero Devi (65).

The heavy exchange of fire between the BSF and Rangers started around 10 pm and lasted till 7.30 am.

In Delhi, BSF Director General DK Pathak said the Rangers were not responding to India’s efforts to hold flag meetings to resolve the current crisis. “Pakistan shelled 25 BSF posts and civilian areas in the RS Pura sector last night,” said BSF’s Jammu Frontier IG, RK Sharma.

“We are responding strongly to their provocations and would continue to do so. Orders of tit-for-tat are very clear from top to bottom. The morale of our boys is very high,” he said. The BSF IG said he had an intelligence input on the Pakistan Army’s involvement in the current flare-up. “We have strengthened our posts,” said the officer, adding that the BSF was maintaining tight vigil along the 198-km border.

The BSF said it has spotted armed terrorists "very close" to the IB on at least "three occasions" in the last few days and suspect the recent escalation in firing was an attempt to help them infiltrate into India.

IG Sharma said Rangers were using high trajectory long- range area weapons such as 82 mm and 51 mm mortars, besides opening LMG and MMG fire.

After July 16, when a BSF jawan was killed in a sniper fire in Arnia, there have been 30 ceasefire violations by the Rangers to date, he added. “One of our personnel carried a white flag and went to a designated point along the border in RS Pura yesterday. He waited there for a couple of minutes, but our Pakistani counterparts did not come. This is a drill we follow to inform the other side that we want to have a flag meeting,” said the BSF Director General.

“Since August 16, the BSF has made an attempt to contact the Rangers for a flag meeting thrice. But we have not received any communication from them,” said the DG. To our day-to-day written protest notes on truce violations, they have remained in denial mode, said IG Sharma.

He said the BSF was constantly in touch with the civilian population and was giving them timely warning to move to safer areas.

Pakistani troops, meanwhile, also opened unprovoked firing in Ramgarh sub-sector of Samba district. Truce violations were also reported from along the LoC in Rajouri district.

Army takes over DCB line

  • With no let-up in the cross-border fire by the Rangers, the Army has reportedly taken over the Ditch-cum-Bandh (DCB) line all along the International Border
  • A top official source said troops of 4 Rajputana Rifles, 4 Dogra Regiment and 12 Kumaon Regiment have been deployed on the DCB line behind the border
  • The troops were conducting the inspection of the DCB line and have laid concertina wires on gaps (roads leading to Zero Line and rivulets that flow into Pakistan), said sources

"We are responding firmly and strongly to their provocations and would continue to do so. Orders of tit-for-tat are very clear from top to bottom. We have strengthened our posts and there is no shortage of men"

RK Sharma, Jammu frontier IG, BSF





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