Situation Tense On LoC; Army Jawan Killed, Another Injured

Situation Tense On LoC; Army Jawan Killed, Another Injured

15 October 2013
The Daily Excelsior


Jammu: Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan today established contact over telephone on escalating tensions on the Line of Control (LoC) as Pakistan Army continued heavy shelling and firing in several parts of Poonch district throughout the last night and during the day today in which an Army soldier was killed in Balakote sector. Another Army jawan was injured in a mine blast at forward Makhyari post in Sabjian this afternoon. “Tension was very high all along the LoC due to almost uninterrupted firing and shelling by Pakistani troops at Balakote, Mendhar, Hamirpur and Bhimber Gali sectors in Poonch district since last evening. The people living in forward villages like Swala, Panjni, Balakote, Dabbi, Deri Dabsi, Tarkundi, Kanga etc have confined themselves to their houses due to pounding of their villages from across the LoC with 82mm mortar shells,’’ official sources told the Excelsior. Tension aggravated this evening on the eve of Eid festival as Pakistan Army heavily shelled forward Indian posts along Panjni Nullah in Balakote sector killing an Indian Army soldier. Sources said Lance Naik Mohammad Feroz Khan of 38 Rashtriya Rifles attached with 15 Bihar Regiment was killed as MS Tekri post, he was manning was shelled and fired upon heavily from across the LoC at 5.30 pm today in Balakote sector. The post was damaged. Body of the martyred soldier has been shifted to Military Hospital and would be sent to his native town at Char Minar, Hyderabadh in Andhra Pradesh tomorrow morning with full military honours. An Army jawan was injured in a mine blast at Makhyari post on the LoC in Sabjian sector of Poonch district at 2.30 pm today. The injured, Sepoy Sumit Kumar of 40 Rashtriya Rifles was part of an Army patrol party when he stepped over a mine in the forward area of Dilal Top in Sabjian leading to a powerful blast in which his right leg was blown off. Army jawans evacuated him from the spot and shifted him to local hospital from where he was airlifted to Military Hospital, Nagrota. His condition was stated to be serious. Sources said DGMO India Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia and DGMO Pakistan Maj Gen Aamer Riaz established telephonic contact between them this morning in which the Indian Army officer is reported to have taken strong exception to continued ceasefire violations by Pakistan Army and shelling in forward Indian villages in Poonch district. Pakistan, as usual, remained in denial mode and instead shifted blame of firing on the Indian troops, sources said, adding Lt Gen Bhatia asked his Pakistani counterpart to immediately stop shelling and firing on the Indian position. He was also understood to have charged Pakistan with trying to abet infiltration attempts by the militants from across the LoC. Sources revealed that Indian side had conveyed to Pakistan that they wouldn’t open firing today unless severely provoked in view of Eid festival tomorrow. However, they said, Pakistan played mischief and even after morning’s spell of shelling and firing, they deliberately resorted to heavy firing in all major sectors of Poonch district at 5.30 pm today. The Indian Army was left with no option but to retaliate as firing and shelling from Pakistan side was very intense and an Army soldier was killed. Sources pointed out that firing by Pakistan Army at 5.30 pm indicated that the telephonic talks between the DGMOs didn’t have any impact on the ground. Indian Army retaliated very effectively after the killing of an Army soldiers. Sources said after heavy firing and shelling last night at Balakote, Mendhar, Hamirpur and BG sectors in Poonch district, Pakistan Army resumed mortar shelling and firing from automatic, medium and small arms at Balakote, Mendhar and Hamirpur sectors at 6.30 and Bhimber Gali at 10.30 am. “Our troops gave an effective response to the firing by the Pakistani troops using similar caliber of weapons. Pakistan Army was also targeting civil population putting up in forward areas of Balakote and Mendhar. Heavy firing ceased around 12 noon but again resumed at 5.30 pm and continued till 7 pm,’’ sources said. There were four ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army on the LoC and International Border during past today days. Pakistani Rangers had violated ceasefire at Samba sector yesterday morning injuring a BSF jawan while Pakistani troops violated ceasefire three times on the LoC last night, today morning and evening, sources said. There had been 112 ceasefire violations from Pakistan side since first week of August this years after tensions had escalated on the LoC following the killing of five Indian soldiers in Sarla battalion area at Chakan-Da-Bagh. The people living in forward areas along the LoC especially in Balakote and Mendhar sectors continued to spend sleepless nights in view of intense shelling and firing by the Pakistani troops. But, despite all odds, the people continued to stay put in their houses even as splinters of mortar shells were landing inside or close to their houses. According to sources, Pakistan Army also tried to push a large group of militants from Tarkundi forests in Balakote in early hours of this morning into this side under the cover of firing. The troops, however, spotted the intrusion attempt and thwarted it by resorting to firing on the route the militants were taking to sneak in. The militants retreated to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) after retaliatory firing by the Indian side.