3 Pak Army Jawans Killed, 5 Injured; 5 Posts Destroyed

3 Pak Army Jawans Killed, 5 Injured; 5 Posts Destroyed

22 August 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: In a strong reply to Pakistan Army, which had continuously been firing on forward Indian Army posts and civilians areas in entire Poonch sector including Mendhar, Balakote, Hamirpur etc, three Pakistan troopers were killed at Tatta Pani and Rawlakote opposite Mendhar and Poonch sectors today while two civilians including a woman and a girl were injured in Pakistan shelling at Shahpur Kerni in Poonch this afternoon. Five Pakistani troopers were injured. Official sources confirmed to the Excelsior that two Pakistan Army jawans were killed and two others were injured at Tatta Pani opposite Balnoi in Mendhar sector in Poonch district this evening as Indian troops gave an effective response at 17 days long continued firing and shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC). Pakistan has also confirmed two fatal and two non-fatal casualties of its Army in Tatta Pani sector falling opposite Balnoi in Mendhar sector this evening. Five Pakistani posts, which had continuously been raining bullets and mortar shells on Indian posts and civilian areas were destroyed in retaliatory firing, sources said. Another Pakistan Army man was killed at forward area of Rakhcahri in Rawlakote (Pakistan occupied Kashmir) opposite Poonch sector this morning. Three other Pakistan Army personnel were injured. The Indian Army in Kargil sector killed a Captain of Pakistan Army yesterday in retaliatory firing. The Indian retaliation was necessitated as Pakistan Army had been targeting civilian areas with 82mm mortar shelling, in which a teen-aged girl and a woman were injured today. Several other civilians had narrow escape as shells landed close to their houses sending a wave of panic among them. There were no casualties of Indian Army in the firing, sources said. After suffering three fatalities, Pakistan Army late this evening resorted to heavy firing and shelling at Balnoi at 7.20 pm, Banwat in Poonch at 6.30 pm and Mendhar at 6.45 pm. Pakistan Army was using medium to heavy fire arms apart from mortar shells, targeting forward Indian Army pickets and civilian areas, they added. Firing by the Pakistani troops also resumed at Balakote and Hamirpur sectors at 5 pm with at least 15 forward areas being targeted. Firing at all the places continued till late this evening. Indian troops were giving very effective retaliation at all the places, they said. Sources said Pakistan started firing in Shahpur Kerni sub sector of Poonch at 12.05 pm today. They fired with heavy caliber weapons and used 82mm mortar shells to target forward posts of Army and forward villagers. Splinters of mortar shells, fired by Pakistan, fell at village Kerni and Qasba, about 25 kilometers from Poonch town causing injuries to two civilians in their houses. Several splinters fell in the civilian areas causing damage to houses, cowsheds etc. Army, police and local people evacuated the injured civilians, who were admitted in the Military Hospital, Poonch in serious condition. They have been identified as Farzana Kousar, 12, daughter of Khadim Hussain R-o Kerni and Noor Jan, 40, wife of Mohammad Din, a resident of village Qasba. Several local people in Shahpur Kerni had narrow escape in shelling by the Pakistan Army, sources said. Pakistani troops fired nearly 40 to 50 mortar shells in Shahpur Kerni sector of Poonch, a number of which landed in the civilian areas. Sources said Farzana Kousar was playing in the premises of her house when she was injured after being hit by splinters of a mortar shell while Noor Jan was grazing cattle when a mortar shell exploded in front of her. The Indian troops retaliated effectively to silence the Pakistani guns at all the places. The firing stopped late tonight but troops were on high alert as it could resume anytime. The firing spread panic among the people living in forward areas especially after splinters of the shells started landing close to houses of the people and the fields. Civil and police officers visited forward villages at Shahpur Kerni and urged the people to stay put in their villages. They assured full protection to them. The people held a protest demonstration against Pakistan Army for targeting the civil population. In previous spells of firing by the Pakistan Army in Mendhar and Balakote sectors, five civilians have been injured during past over one week. Pakistan had been targeting the civil population to force their migration as this would put pressure on Army to stop retaliation. However, the people in the forward areas have already urged the Army to give effective response to Pakistan and don’t worry about them. The civilians have expressed their full support to the Indian Army. Firing from Pakistani side was also reported during the day at Deri Dabsi, Nanda, Peeli and Pona pickets in Mendhar, sources said. Pakistani soldiers of 655 Mujahideen and 39 Baloch resorted to firing at Roshni Nallah, Gun Hill, Chajaman and 473 Post at Balnoi sector in Mankote which was followed by another violation at Sona Gali, Lowara Gali, Dhiyan, Atma Post and surrounding areas of sector Mankote. Pakistani troops fired again at Kirni-1 and Kirni-2 posts after a lull at 8.45 pm tonight. Indian troops retaliated and the exchange of firing continued till late in the night. The Pakistani troops have been daily resorting to ceasefire violations since August 6 when its special forces killed five Indian soldiers and injured another in Sarla battalion area in Poonch. Pakistan Army had last night committed two violations of the ceasefire by firing mortar shells at LoC posts in Hamirpur and Mendhar sectors of Poonch district, drawing prompt and effective retaliation from Indian troops, sources said. Firing on several Indian posts in Hamirpur sector along the LoC started at 9 pm last night and continued till 10.30 pm. Troops from across the LoC opened fire with automatic weapons and medium mortar shells, sources said, adding that: “our troops retaliated effectively and the exchanges continued for about one and a half hours’’. Pakistan troops also fired at Indian posts in the Mendhar sector of Poonch at around 10.30 pm. The firing there continued till 11 pm. Indian troops responded effectively without any casualties in either of the incidents of firing in Poonch last night. “The 2003 Indo-Pak ceasefire has become meaningless. There is daily firing these days as was witnessed before 2003,” sources said. The 225-km long LoC in the Poonch-Rajouri sector has been witness to daily violations of the ceasefire since August 7. There have been 33 ceasefire violations by Pakistan in the past fortnight. Pakistan Army has violated ceasefire over 80 times this year from January 1.