Sweets, Firing Go Together On Borders15 August 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Sweets and gun firing were exchanged almost simultaneously between Indo-Pak troops on the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) on the occasion of Independence Day. Only yesterday, the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Rangers had exchanged sweets at Octroi Post in Suchetgarh sector of RS Pura tehsil to mark Pakistanís Independence Day but in the wee hours of this morning when the country was bracing up for celebrations of Independence Day, the Rangers resorted to heavy firing on forward Indian posts at Ballard in Ramgarh sector of Samba district, violating cease-fire. The BSF retaliated to ensure that there was no infiltration attempt by the militants from Pakistan side to disrupt the Independence Day celebrations in Jammu. At the flag meeting this afternoon, the Indian side took strong exception to ceasefire violation by the Rangers. Today also, Army officers of India and Pakistan exchanged sweets at zero line on Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district to celebrate Indiaís Independence Day. Official sources said the gates at Chakan-Da-Bagh were opened at 11 am. Pakistan Army officials led by Lt Col Umar Gul of 653 Balouch Regiment greeted Indian Army officers headed by Col B P Christopher of 21 Bihar with sweets and fruits. Indian side also handed over sweets to Pakistani officials and hosted tea for them. The celebrations lasted half an hour. A similar function was held yesterday at Chakan-Da-Bagh on the occasion of Pakistanís Independence Day. However, the cross-LoC bus service on Poonch-Rawlakote route, linking two parts of the divided State, didnít ply today due to Independence Day celebrations. The weekly bus plies every Monday. There will be no weekly trade on Poonch-Rawlakote route on Tuesday but it would take place only on Wednesday this week. Yesterday, the BSF and Rangers had exchanged sweets at Octroi Post in Suchetgarh sector of RS Pura tehsil on the occasion of Independence Day but no such function was held today on the International Border. Sources said at about 3.10 am, the Rangers started firing on the forward Indian positions along Ballard in Ramgarh sector of Samba district from their forward posts of Lehri Kalan and Imran. The Rangers used heavy fired arms and lobbed Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) on the Indian side, violating ceasefire. The BSF jawans, who were maintaining a high alert all along the IB on the eve of Independence Day anticipating infiltration attempts from across the border to disturb the celebrations, lit up the area with para-lights to ensure that there was no intrusions into this side. Earlier also, the militants had made several attempts to infiltrate into this side from Ballard and surrounding posts of Ramgarh sector. In one such failed attempt, the militants had planted an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on the IB while fleeing back in which a DIG of the BSF was killed. The firing continued till 3.40 am. The BSF jawans conducted a search operation in the area but there were no traces of infiltrators on this side. Sources said even if there was an attempt by the Rangers to push the intruders into this side, it failed due to alertness of the BSF jawans. At 1 pm today, a flag meeting was held between BSF and Rangers at Ballard Post in Ramgarh. Commandant 72 BSF PC Pujari and 24 Chenab Rangers CO Imtiyaz Khan joined the meeting. Sources said the BSF took a serious note of ceasefire violation by the Rangers on the eve of Independence Day. The BSF warned the Rangers of consequences for any such misadventure in future. The BSF regretted that while they handed over sweets and fruits to the Rangers on Pakistanís Independence Day yesterday, they returned it with firing this morning.