15 Pak Rangers killed in retaliatory firing: BSF
The border tension between Indian and Pakistan escalated on Friday after two civilians including a woman were killed and a major and BSF man injured in Pakistani firing and shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir and BSF claimed that 15 Pakistani Ranges were killed in the retaliatory firing.
Defence sources said Pakistani troops targeted civilian areas and forward security posts along the International Border and Line of Control in Jammu, Kathua, Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
They said Pakistani troops also resorted to firing from small and automatic weapons and resorted to 82 mm and 120 mm mortar shelling on Indian troops posts and civilians areas in Sunderbani, Pallanwala, Naushera, Mendhar, Balakote sectors along the LoC in Jammu province.
“At 1720 hour yesterday, Pakistan Rangers started unprovoked heavy firing and shelling in Kathua sector of Jammu which further spread to Hiranagar and Samba. They targeted 24 BSF posts and the cross-border firing and shelling continued till 5 am today,” a BSF official said.
He said the BSF men also effectively returned the fire and targeted the Pakistani troop posts. “Many of their posts were damaged and they suffered casualties”.
The BSF official said some of the mortar shells fired by the Pakistani troops landed in civilian areas.
An official said a boy Ajay son of Rattan Chand was killed in Khour belt of Pallanwala sector today after a mortar shell fired by Pakistani troops hit his house.
“He suffered critical injuries in the head and died while being shifted to the hospital,” he said.
The official said a 50-year-old woman identified as Isma Begum wife of Abdul Rehman was also killed in shelling by Pakistan troops in Gohlad village in Mendhar tehsil of Poonch district.
“Besides, a civilian was also injured in Pakistani troops firing in R S Pura sector,” he said.
Sources said a BSF man and an Army Major were injured in Pakistani troops mortar shelling during the night.
“Army Major was guarding post at Sabra Gali and BSF man was in other post at Balakote when mortar shells fired by Pakistan hit their positions, causing injuries to them,” they said adding both the injured were airlifted to hospital.
BSF Additional Director General Arun Kumar told reporters here that a befitting reply was being given to the Pakistani shelling and firing.
“Fifteen Pakistani soldiers have been killed in retaliatory firing and shelling by BSF. We have destroyed their OP (outposts) and damaged a few,” Kumar said after laying wreath at the mortal remains of slain BSF man Jitendra Kumar.
He said as per the ammunition (120 mm mortars) used, it appears that Pakistani army is supporting the Rangers.
Sources said six forwards posts in RS Pura sector were badly affected in firing and mortar shelling by Pakistani troops.
They said mortars have been landing 5 km inside the International Border and it has forced fresh migration from several villages.
“Several houses have been damaged partially in Baspur Bangla,” sources said adding many families in the village have migrated to safer places.
Sources said Tarkundi and Nowshera in Rajouri also witnessed heavy firing from Pakistan troops.
In Mendhar’s forward areas, forest fire has broken out and it has engulfed the border belt with fog.
The forest fire, as per the sources, was caused due to explosions and mortars shelling.