Seven Pakistani Rangers were killed and three others injured on Friday as BSF retaliated to mortar shelling and small arms fire from across the International Border at various places in Kathua, Samba and Jammu districts. “There is confirmed information of the killing of seven Pak Rangers and serious injury to three others,” a BSF spokesperson said. Quoting the official press release issued by the BSF, the spokesperson added: “One of its brave constable Gurnam Singh of Bhaleshar of Magowali village in R S Pura tehsil got seriously injured when Pakistan targeted a BSF post at Bobiya in Hiranagar sector. He was mainly instrumental in repulsing the forced infiltration in the area on the intervening night of October 19-20.”
Another BSF spokesperson Shubhendu Bhardwaj in Delhi, however, said that “in a befitting reply to a sniper attack by Pakistan Army in Hiranagar sector at 9.35 am, the BSF launched an aggressive offensive, gunning down a militant and seven Pakistani rangers” during intermittent firing of small arms.
Meanwhile, Pakistan denied there was any loss of life on its side in the cross-border firing. Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) claimed that the Indian Army resorted to unprovoked firing in Shakargarh sector today and that they retaliated the fire. “Indian claim of hitting or killing any Pakistani soldier/Ranger at anytime today at LOC/International Border is absolutely false,” said ISPR DG, General Asim Bajwa.
Pakistan also lodged a strong protest before the Director General of SA & SAARC, claiming that Indian forces have been resorting to ceasefire violation along the Line of Control. The India Deputy High Commissioner was summoned on Friday evening by the Director General.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh tonight reviewed the situation along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir where BSF shot dead seven Pakistan Rangers and a terrorist while retaliating to a ceasefire violation. On receiving the news, the Home Minister, who was in Mumbai, called up Director General, BSF, K K Sharma and took stock of the situation along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district, officials said.
Senior Home Ministry officials are also in regular touch with BSF officials and monitoring the situation along the border, they said. The Home Minister earlier had said that BSF should not fire the first shot towards Pakistan but if fired upon by Pakistani forces, BSF should not count the bullets and retaliate forcefully.
On the intervening night of October 19-20, the BSF foiled an infiltration bid in Hiranagar and killed a militant. On Friday morning, the Rangers targeted a BSF post in the same area, critically injuring a jawan. The injured jawan was admitted in the hospital and his condition was stated to be serious.
Pakistani Rangers first resorted to mortar shelling and small arms fire at around 9.35 am in Bobiyan and it soon spread to Bobiyan Forward and Karol Mathurian in Hiranagar sector. With the Indian side retaliating the fire, the Pakistani guns fells silent after nearly a 40-minute long fire fight. There was a ceasefire for nearly two hours before the Pakistani Rangers again resumed firing on Indian side around 12.15 noon, sources said.
Since 5 pm, there has been no firing from Pakistan side in Hiranagar sector, the spokesperson said, adding that Rangers also resorted to small arms fire in Samba and Pargwal sector of Jammu district during the day. It was also retaliated by the BSF. Meanwhile, Pakistani troops resorted to firing from small arms and automatics along the Line of Control in Manjakote area of Rajouri district around 12.45 pm. However, sources said, there were no casualties on the Indian side, till reports last came in.
Ever since India carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control causing sufficient damage to terrorists and those shielding them last month, Pakistan has been resorting to mortar shelling and small arms fire at one or the other place along the borders in Jammu region. It continued lobbing mortar shells, besides resorting to automatics and small arms fire along the LoC in Rajouri district’s Manjakote area of Bhimber Gali sector throughout Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, alert army troops foiled an infiltration by heavily armed terrorists from across the LoC in Sawjian sector of Poonch on Friday morning. Defence Ministry spokesperson Lt Colonel Manish Mehta said that troops noticed two-three terrorists in a densely forested area trying to cross over to the Indian side in Gali Maidan area. On being challenged by Indian troops, the infiltrating terrorists opened fire before escaping into Pakistan.
Meanwhile, sources said that during the encounter, an Army jawan got injured. He has been identified as Lance Naik Vinod Kumar. The infiltration attempt was the second such incident in the last 24 hours as nearly half a dozen terrorists attempted to enter the Indian territory in the wee hours of Thursday. They attacked a BSF naka near the international border at Bobiyan in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district. The infiltration attempt was foiled as terrorists fled back to Pakistan side after BSF personnel retaliated, killing one of them, sources said. The fleeing terrorists were seen carrying a body when area was illuminated with the help of tracer bomb.