Rangers firing with Army weapons: BSF

Rangers firing with Army weapons: BSF

17 August 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Rangers firing with Army weapons BSF After 9 years, people take to bunkers again Sanjeev Pargal JAMMU, Aug 17 Old days of hostilities between India and Pakistan are back again, at least in some of the border areas especially in forward villages of RS Pura and Samba sectors. It was after nearly nine years last night that the people in forward village of Abdullian in RS Pura sector had to take shelter in bunkers to survive heavy Pakistan firing in which a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan was killed on spot. Meanwhile, the Rangers again resorted to heavy firing at Abdullian and adjoining posts up to Suchetgarh in RS Pura sector at 7.15 am today. The firing continued about half an hour till the BSF jawans retaliated. A large number of villagers, who had been working in their fields in forward village of Abdullian in RS Pura sector were stunned by the impact of heavy firing by the Rangers, which started around 7 pm last night. Finding themselves trapped, the farmers and other people were left with no option but to take shelter in underground bunkers, which they had dug prior to ceasefire agreement of India and Pakistan that had come into force in November 2003. Today’s firing was seventh ceasefire violation by the Rangers on the International Border (IB) after detection of a tunnel dug by Pakistan authorities about 540 meters deep into the Indian territory at forward village of Chechwal in Samba sector on July 27. 'We have been reminded of pre-ceasefire agreement days when firing used to take place on the borders off and on. We had seen the bullets landing in our houses. We don’t want to see those days once again. Hopefully, better sense would prevail on Pakistan and they would stop border firing and let us live peacefully and cultivate our land on the borders’’, said a villager, Surjeet Singh, who had to take shelter in the bunker after sudden firing by the Rangers when he was working in the fields at 7 pm last evening. Another villager, Yash Kumar said 'almost all people living in the border villages are poor. We earn our livelihood by cultivating our lands. Everything was going smoothly after the ceasefire agreement. However, during past few days, Pakistan had again started firing in the forward areas, which is most ridiculous’’. Reports said the heavy firing from Pakistan side in Abdullian and surrounding areas caught a large number of villagers, who were working in their fields unaware. Luckily, they hadn’t filled the underground bunkers, which they had constructed during the days of firing especially after Parliament attack in December 2001 when forces of the two countries were in an eyeball-to-eyeball position. Most of the people in forward areas took shelter in the bunkers and reached their houses only after the firing stopped late in the night. On Independence Day, the people of forward village of Pansar in Samba sector had also faced a similar situation when more than a dozen people were trapped in heavy Pakistan firing in their fields in the forward areas. They took shelter behind trees and other places and reached to their houses only after the firing stopped. The villagers had threatened to leave their houses after the firing but were persuaded by civil and police administration not to do so. The authorities had assured safety and protection to the people living in the forward areas. It may be mentioned here that after November 2003 ceasefire agreement between the Government of India and Pakistan, the people living in forward areas on both LoC and IB had started cultivation of their land right up to the borders. This was for the first time after the ceasefire agreement that the people had to take to bunkers again on the IB. Today’s firing by the Rangers from Abdullian to Suchetgarh was seventh incident of ceasefire violation after the detection of 540 meters tunnel dug inside the Indian territory by Pakistan authorities from their side at Chechwal, Samba on July 27. Pakistani Rangers had fired thrice at Arnia, twice each at Pansar in Samba and Abdullian in RS Pura sector. In last night’s firing at Abdullian, a BSF jawan was killed while two jawans were injured at Pansar and one at Arnia. The BSF and Rangers had held two flag meetings-one each at Pansar and Arnia after first round of firing. The last time the BSF and the Rangers had met at Octroi Post in Suchetgarh sector of RS Pura on August 15 on the occasion of Independence Day to exchange sweets and fruits. On August 15, the Rangers gave sweets to the BSF jawans in the morning and fired bullets on them in the evening at Pansar. Next day also i.e. August 16, the Rangers fired heavily at Abdullian, which falls close to Suchetgarh, and killed a BSF jawan. Today morning, the Rangers again fired at Abdullian and extended firing up to Suchetgarh. The BSF has retaliated effectively all the time to silence the Pakistani guns. BSF, meanwhile, today said Pakistan Rangers are firing on Indian troops in Jammu sectors from weapons, which are usually possessed by their Army and this is resulting in injuries for its troopers guarding the border. 'I think the firing from Pakistani side is being done from weapons that are usually possessed and used by the Pakistan Army,' BSF chief U K Mr Bansal said on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi. He called the repeated instances of ceasefire violation along the Indo-Pak border as 'unfortunate' and added that BSF has the right to retaliate. He said he has directed his troops to 'show restraint without compromising their mandate'. Mr Bansal, when asked about the use of sniper weapons which can be fired effectively from a long distance, said it was not a concern for them anymore as the Pakistani side has been doing it for sometime. He said he has asked his men to take appropriate steps to counter this. Meanwhile at R S Pura border, BSF Inspector General Rajeev Krishna said they have taken the cross-border firing issue very seriously and the paramilitary troops have given a strong reply to its Pakistani counterparts. 'It (Pakistan firing) is a serious issue...It has been taken a seriously...There is no place of such incidents in border guarding...We have given a strong reply to them (Pakistanis),' Mr Krishna said after taking stock of the situation along the Indo-Pak border in R S Pura sector. Jammu IGP Dilbagh Singh, who also visited the area to take stock of the situation, said, 'This (the firing) is not a healthy trend...They are disturbing peaceful environment prevailing along borders...Normal life has been disturbed... border dwellers, particularly those engaged in farming and trade, are in fear.' 'All attempts to infiltrate militants would be foiled,' he said.