Two border guards killed, 10 injured as Pakistan targets Indian posts

Cross-border attacks in Pragwal area of Akhnoor and nearby Kanachak and Khour sectors force people to lave their homes and flee

Indian volunteers and police personnel carry Vikram Singh, who was injured in cross border firing between Indian and Pakistan, into The Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu on June 3, 2018.

Jammu: Two personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF), including an officer, were on Sunday killed as Pakistani Rangers targeted Indian posts along the international border in Jammu with mortars and firing, a violation which comes nearly a week after the director generals of military operations (DGMOs) of both countries agreed to implement the ceasefire pact of 2003 in “letter and spirit”.

The heavy firing and mortar shelling from across the border in Pragwal area of Akhnoor and nearby Kanachak and Khour sectors also left 10 persons, including a policeman and a woman injured, and forced people to abandon their homes and rush for safer places.

“Pakistan side resorted to unprovoked firing by targeting forward duty points at International Border [IB] in Pragwal around 0115 hours, causing critical injuries to Assistant Sub-inspector S.N. Yadav (48) and constable V.K. Pandey,” a senior BSF officer told PTI.

He said both the injured soldiers were evacuated to medical facilities but succumbed to their injuries.

The firing from across the border in violation of the ceasefire agreement prompted a strong and effective retaliation by the BSF, the officer said adding that cross-border firing spread to Kanachak and Khour areas as well and was going on when reports last came in.

A police official said nine civilians and a policeman were also injured in the Pakistani shelling and were evacuated to hospital. He identified six of the injured persons as selection grade constable Zakir Khan, Sulakshana Devi (25), Bansi Lal (40), Balwinder Singh (22), Sudhakar Singh (50) and Vikram Singh (34).

On May 29, the DGMOs of India and Pakistan agreed to “fully implement” the ceasefire pact of 2003 in “letter and spirit” forthwith to stop border skirmishes in Jammu and Kashmir.

The two military commanders reviewed the prevailing situation along the Line of Control and the international border in Jammu and Kashmir during a conversation over the special hotline.

The hotline contact was initiated by the Pakistani DGMO.

Following the conversation between Indian DGMO Lt Gen Anil Chauhan and Pakistan’s Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, the two armies issued identical statements saying that both sides agreed to implement the 15-year-old ceasefire understanding.

The latest deaths in the Pakistani firing raised the casualty figure during ceasefire violations along the international border and the Line of Control in the state to 46. The dead include 20 security personnel.

Last month, thousands of people residing along the international border in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts had to flee their homes following intense shelling from Pakistan between May 15 and May 23, which left 12 people dead, including two BSF troopers and an infant, and scores of others injured.

After the DGMOs of the two countries spoke to each other, hope had rekindled among border residents who had started returning to their homes but the latest incident triggered fresh concerns among them and people in the affected areas started fleeing their homes afresh.


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