Pak''s strategic Raja Rani post destroyed
12 May 2002
The Daily Excelsior
POONCH: Pakistanís strategic Raja Rani post, which India had captured in 1965 war but only to be gifted away by the then rulers, was completely destroyed in retaliatory shelling by Indian army in wee hours of this morning opposite Shahpur sub sector. Twelve bunkers of Pakistan army around Raja Rani post were also damaged and atleast eight enemy soldiers were believed to be killed and dozen others injured in the post. ''Pakistanís Raja Rani post, which was instrumental in three recent infiltration attempts by Pakistani terrorists through Shahpur area of Poonch sector, has been reduced to a rubble. It didnít exist at all now'', a Defence official told EXCELSIOR this evening. ''We acted to stop infiltration of the terrorists to our side, which was being facilitated by Pakistan army officers through Raja Rani post'', he said, adding Indian troops retaliated after Pakistan side resorted to heavy mortar shelling and artillery firing in Shahpur, Digwar, Mill Dallan and Sokar villages over-night. Raja Rani post was manned by 20 soldiers of Pakistan army at a given time. In addition, it was surrounded by atleast 12 bunkers, each manned by two soldiers, the sources said, adding atleast eight enemy soldiers died when the strategic post was destroyed while a dozen others were injured. The post was destroyed at 0430 hours. By 0515 hours, Indian army witnessed hectic activity on Pakistan side with troops being rushed in to the destroyed post. Five ambulances were seen shifting the dead and injured to hospitals, the sources said. All 12 bunkers of Pakistan army, surrounding Raja Rani post, were also destroyed in retaliatory action by Indian side. According to sources, the brave Indian troops had captured Raja Rani post, opposite Shahpur sub sector in 1965 war with Pakistan but the then rulers had subsequently returned it to Pakistan. Through Raja Rani post, the distance of Poonch to Kashmir is reduced to just 54 kilometers, they pointed out. They said the shelling and artillery firing from Pakistan side was heaviest in last two months. A total of 1200 mortar and artillery shells were reported to have been fired by Pakistan army in four forward villages in Poonch sector. Over 25 houses, abandoned by the villagers in January this year in view of intensified skirmishes between Indo-Pak troops on the Line of Control (LoC), were extensively damaged in the shelling over-night. However, there were no casualties, the sources said. Last fortnight had witnessed almost daily exchange of mortar shelling between Indo-Pak troops. Intensified shelling by Pakistan army was attributed to giving a cover to the infiltrators, who included Pakistan and Afghan terrorists. During the fortnight, more than 50 foreign mercenaries had been eliminated by army and police on the LoC as well as general areas in this district, indicating a spurt in infiltration with melting of snow on the upper reaches. Troops of Poonch Brigade were jubilant over destroying Raja Rani post of Pakistan army, which they described as a Ďvery big successí going by the strategic position it gave to the enemy troops. Reliable reports indicated that the troops might not allow Pakistan army to re-build Raja Rani post to check infiltration of the terrorists. ''Destroying Raja Rani post had become a must to curb the intrusions'', the sources said but admitted that Ďthe incident could give a new dimension to ongoing skirmishes on the LoC. ''We are prepared to give a befitting reply to Pakistan army. All necessary steps would be taken to check infiltrations of the terrorists'', the sources said. Meanwhile, mortar shelling was also reported from Sher Makri forward village in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district between 2115 to 2135 hours last night. It was replied by Indian side effectively. However, no casualties or damage was reported on Indian side. Our Jammu correspondent adds: Indo-Pak troops continued to exchange heavy firing on the International Border in Jammu sector last night. Villages, where the exchange of firing took place, Old and New Kanachak, Pinjore, Rajpora, Lalyal, Gole Pattan, Chinore Farm, Manyari, Rajbagh, Chandan Chako and Karol. Exchange of firing was stated to be routine.