Dozen people trapped in Pak firing for about two hours

Dozen people trapped in Pak firing for about two hours

15 August 2012
The Daily Excelsior


Jammu: Pakistani Rangers didnít even allow the people in border villages to celebrate Independence Day peacefully as they opened firing at Rathua and Pansar areas in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district this afternoon and extended it till late this evening intermittently. Tonight at 9.30 pm, Pakistan Army resorted to heavy firing on LoC at Krishna Ghati sector in Poonch district. However, there were no casualties or damage. Heavy firing was reported at Kirpan, Kranti and Goda posts. Panic gripped forward villages in Rathua and Pansar area after the firing, forcing the people to come out of their houses and take shelter in comparatively safer areas. Some of the people even wanted to leave their houses to take shelter in Government schools and other places but the administration persuaded them not to do so on the ground that firing would stop shortly. Official sources said the Rangers opened firing at Rathua and Pansar area in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district at about 3.30 pm. About a dozen civilians, who had gone for cultivating their crops at Zero Line in Pansar area, were trapped in the firing. They lied down behind some trees and other places of shelter before reaching to safety after over two hours. Heavy firing in Rathua and Pansar continued for about an hour. The BSF retaliated to silence Pakistani guns. Intermittent firing continued till tonight leaving the people panic-stricken. Reports confirmed that people came out of their houses during heavy firing and took shelter in some safer areas. They returned to houses late in the night when the firing gradually stopped. Some of the people told the Excelsior on phone from forward villages of Pansar and Rathua that they saw such kind of firing on the border for the first time after ceasefire came into force between the two countries in November 2003. 'We have seen worst firing when Armies of India and Pakistan were in eyeball-to- eyeball position after Parliament attack. However, after ceasefire, we had started living peacefully on the borders. It was after a gap of nearly 10 years that we have once again seen the long spell of firing and that too for the second time in past 10 daysíí, the villagers said. Earlier also, the Rangers had targeted Pansar Post injuring two BSF jawans. The BSF had lodged a strong protest with the Rangers over the firing. Reports said the villagers from Pansar and Rathua wanted to leave their houses for safety apprehending fresh spell of firing tonight. However, they were persuaded by Tehsildar Rajeev Sharma and SDPO Border Kamaljit Singh not to leave their houses on the ground that they were safe in their houses. The civil and police officials told the villagers that normalcy would prevail in the border areas once again. Sources said some bullets fell close to the houses of the people living in forward areas of Pansar and Rathua, triggering panic among them. It may be mentioned here that Pakistan had regularly been resorting to firing at forward Indian posts on the International Border (IB) in Arnia and Pansar sectors. During past about 10 days, the Rangers had thrice violated ceasefire on the IB in Arnia sector and twice in Pansar. The firing had started after detection of 540 meters long tunnel, dug inside the Indian territory by Pakistan authorities from their side at forward village of Chechwal in Samba sector, to facilitate infiltration attempt and smuggle narcotics. A farmer had detected the tunnel on July 27. Before resorting to firing on forward Indian villages, the Rangers exchanged sweets with BSF at Octroi Post in RS Pura sector this morning. Commanding Officer 135 battalion, BSF, Jameel Ahmad and Rangers Wing Commander, Qaiser Mehmood along with other officials from both sides joined the celebrations during which sweets and fruits were exchanged. The function lasted just 15 minutes. Three BSF jawans were injured in Pakistan firing at Pansar and Hiranagar during past 10 days. At Chakan-Da-Bagh on the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district, the Army officials of India and Pakistan met for second consecutive day today to exchange sweets and fruits on the Independence Day. Major Umar Gul, Major Tanveer Ahmad and Captain Shakoor Wani represented Pakistan Army while Major S Manhas and Major S S Sehgal along with other officers took part in the celebrations from Indian side. The function lasted about 20 minutes. Officers from both the sides dispersed with a promise to meet again on Eid. Yesterday, Army officials from both sides had exchanged sweets at Chakan-Da-Bagh on Pakistanís Independence Day.