LoC Teeters On Brink Of A Blow-up

LoC Teeters On Brink Of A Blow-up

3 June 2013
Rising Kashmir
Asem Mohiuddin

Nowgam: The recent skirmishes on Line of Control (LoC) between the Indian army and Pakistani Rangers and the subsequent allegations and counter-allegations in Nowgam sector of north Kashmir could potentially vitiate the ongoing ceasefire which has been in effect since 2003. The Indian army accused Pakistani Rangers of firing on their posts four times in last week alone. However, the Pakistani Rangers refuted the allegations and reportedly asked Indian army to stop construction of two concrete bunkers terming it a violation of the ceasefire agreement. Well informed sources told Rising Kashmir that Pakistani Rangers resorted to ceasefire violation first time on June 24 after Indian army started the construction of two bunkers at Tutmargali in Nowgam sector. They said the construction of bunkers is taking place in the evening which irritates Pakistani Rangers who resort to ceasefire violation. “On June 24, Brigadier Sanjeev Langay went to the construction site for monitoring in the evening. The Pakistani Rangers had already warned Indian troops to desist from constructing the bunker. Following the refusal, they fired on Indian posts injuring Langay and two more officers accompanying him,” said a senior security officer, wishing not to be named. The official said that in just a week’s time, Pakistani Rangers fired on Indian posts four times. “Since the construction work takes place in the evening, they (Pakistani army) fired on Indian side at same time on all the four occasions,” the official added. However, the Indian army is continuously denying the allegations and accuses Pakistani Rangers of providing cover to infiltrating militants to sneak into the Valley. “They provoke us and violate the ceasefire agreement to provide cover to militants to infiltrate into our territory to disturb peace. But we are committed to maintain the sanctity of ceasefire agreement and maintain restrain,” said Langay while claiming to have killed three infiltrating foreign militants during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday in the same area. “There is no construction of bunkers on our side and the allegations are baseless.” Sources, however, said that ongoing confrontation between two sides has the potential of straining Indo-Pak ties the way it did in January this year when the two sides indulged in allegations and counter-allegations over ceasefire violations in Churunda village of Uri sector. “The Home Ministry has already given up the idea of all-weather fencing on LoC in Jammu and Kashmir after Defense Ministry’s apprehensions of hostile atmosphere as no concrete structure is allowed there. While the Home Ministry expressed displeasure over continuous infiltration by militants, the strategy was chalked out to raise concrete bunkers ostensibly in forward areas to maintain vigilance round the year,” sources said. “After the Kargil War of 1999 when Pakistani army intruded into our side and attempted to occupy main strategic basis, no forward posts are vacated in winters. However, it causes huge difficulties in winters to put up in temporary shelters. So for that matter it is important to have concrete structures,” said an army official posted on LoC. In Churunda, three civilians and two Pakistani soldiers were killed earlier this year in the skirmishes between the two sides. While the Pakistani Army accused Indian troops of constructing bunkers, the latter accused Rangers of pushing militants into this side. The hostilities later spread over to Mendhar sector of Jammu division.