Pak Pounds Forward Villages On Eid; Extends Firing To Samba, Uri

Pak Pounds Forward Villages On Eid; Extends Firing To Samba, Uri

16 October 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: On the day of Eid festival, Pakistan Army pounded forward Indian posts and villages in five major sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district and opened firing on the International Border (IB) in Samba sector in Jammu region and Uri sector in Baramulla district in the Kashmir Valley. Seven posts and two bunkers of Pakistan Army were completely destroyed opposite Balakote and Mendhar sectors, which bore the brunt of Pakistan shelling, as the Indian troops retaliated this afternoon to silence the enemy guns, which had been shelling and raining bullets in forward Indian areas including villages. Twentyeight posts of Indian Army came under heavy firing and shelling during the day today but there were no casualties or damage on the Indian side. In view of escalated tensions on the LoC, the two Armies as well as BSF and Rangers didn’t exchange sweets on the LoC and IB respectively on the occasion of Eid festival. “There was no exchange of sweets at any place on the LoC and IB today in protest against Pakistan’s continued firing on forward posts and villages in which an Army soldier was killed yesterday in Mendhar sector while a BSF jawan was seriously injured in Samba sector a day before,” official sources told the Excelsior. The gates were not opened at Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district on the LoC and Octroi Post on the International Border in RS Pura sector, where the functions are held to exchange sweets on the occasion of major festivals celebrated by India and Pakistan. At other places also, the sweets were not exchanged, they said. This is for the second time that India and Pakistan Armies didn’t exchange sweets at Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch, which clearly pointed to escalated tensions on the LoC. On the occasion of Eid in August this year, the Indian Army had refused to share sweets with Pakistan in protest against the killing of five Indian soldiers at Sarla battalion area near Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district. Notwithstanding celebrations of Eid festival, Pakistan Army resumed heavy shelling and firing targeting at least 28 forward posts of Indian Army and a number of villages located close to fencing or ahead of it in Balakote, Mendhar, Mankote, Balnoi and Bhimber Gali sectors of Poonch district at 10.40 am. From Bhimber Gali to Krishna Ghati sectors, there was heavy firing and shelling at all places on the LoC from Pakistan side. Sources said the Pakistan Army’s shelling and firing in forward villages like Basooni Top, Deri Dabsi, Drana, Langiot, Tain, Mankote and other places even didn’t allow the people to offer Eid prayers and exchange greeting at various forward villages, located close to the fencing or ahead of the fencing. “We are not even allowed to go to Mosques to offer prayers as we were confined to our houses. We offered prayers in our houses but were unable to exchange Eid greetings with our relatives, friends etc,” said Mohammad Razzaq, a civilian putting up in forward village of Deri Dabsi in Mendhar sector on telephone. Similar was the case with people of forward villages in other areas of Poonch district, where the people had no option but to confine themselves to their houses in view of shelling and firing from across the LoC. Sources said the Indian side retaliated effectively with equal caliber of weapons to silence the Pakistani guns, leading to heavy exchanges. Pakistan Army used 82mm mortars, automatic and medium arms to fire towards the Indian posts, which gave an equal response. All 28 posts in the forward areas of Balnoi, Mankote, Balakote, Mendhar and Bhimber Gali, which were being targeted by the Pakistani troops, retaliated to silence the enemy guns. All Indian posts, targeted from across the LoC and the jawans manning them, were safe, sources said, adding that seven posts and two bunkers of Pakistan Army were completely destroyed opposite Balakote and Mendhar sectors. These Pakistani posts were shelling the civil population on the Indian side and the troops were left with no options but to destroy them to protect the civilians on this side. The firing ceased in all sectors at 4 pm, sources said. The people living in forward areas were highly critical of Pakistan Army for targeting their houses and not allowing them to celebrate Eid. Sources said several mortar shells and their splinters fell inside or close to the houses damaging them and killing two cattle besides injuring several others. On the International Border, the Rangers opened firing at Mangu Chak in Rajpura area of Ghagwal in Samba sector at 9.05 am today. The Border Security Forces (BSF) retaliated. The exchange of firing continued till 9.40 am. Sources said Pakistani posts of Bhopal and Majala resorted to firing but retaliation by the BSF jawans forced them to stop firing. There had been reports that Pakistan Army and Rangers were also trying to infiltrate militants inside the Indian territory under the cover of firing and shelling. However, the alert jawans of Army and BSF have thwarted their plot and not allowed the infiltration attempts to succeed. PTI adds from Srinagar: Pakistan Army indulged in ‘unprovoked’ shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri sector of Kashmir in the ninth ceasefire violation in less than a week. The Pakistani troops started firing shells towards Indian territory in Kamalkote area of Uri Sector at around 7 pm last night, defence sources said today. The shelling, which continued for nearly an hour, was retaliated by the Indian side but there were no reports of any one getting injured in the incident, they said.