Pak Army Takes Over IB, Sialkot Brigade Shelled Arnia Sector

Pak Army Takes Over IB, Sialkot Brigade Shelled Arnia Sector

23 October 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: In a serious development on the borders, Pakistan Army regulars have taken over the International Border (IB) from Rangers at some places and were responsible for heavily pounding forward Indian villages and posts in Jammu sector last night even as the Centre had dispatched additional forces on the IB to meet with any eventuality due to escalated tensions as Pakistan last night targeted 52 Border out Posts (BoPs) of the BSF apart from several forward villages from Ramgarh to Akhnoor sectors. Five more persons including four Border Security Force (BSF) jawans, one of them an Inspector and another Sub Inspector, and a civilian were injured in Pakistan shelling overnight in Arnia sector taking total toll of last night to one dead and eight injured. Ten persons including five civilians and five BSF jawans had earlier been injured in Pakistan shelling taking total number of fatal and non-fatal casualties in week long escalation of tensions on the IB to 19. Official sources told the Excelsior that BSF and Intelligence agencies have very specific inputs that last night’s action in Arnia sector was carried out by Sialkot Brigade of Pakistan Army in which Chinaz post of 193 BSF was targeted killing BSF jawan Mukesh Lal Meena of Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan and injuring seven other jawans. A civilian Krishan Lal was injured at 6.30 am today when a mortar shell exploded close to his shop in Arnia town. Four mortar shells fell in Arnia town overnight. It was the biggest loss suffered by the BSF during over week long escalation of tensions on the IB as one of its jawans was killed and seven others were injured while Chinaz post, which was being manned by the dead and injured soldiers, was damaged. “Having failed to meet caliber of the BSF, the Rangers took the help of Pakistan Army and it was Sialkot Brigade that carried out last night action raining mortars and resorting to firing with heavy arms all along Arnia sector targeting forward villages and BSF posts,” sources said. “There have been reports that apart from Arnia sector, Pakistan Army regulars had also taken over forward posts on the IB from the Rangers at some other sectors also. This has been done as the Rangers were unable to face brave jawans of the BSF along the IB. Moreover, the Rangers had failed to push infiltrators inside the Indian territory despite repeated attempts,” sources said. They added that the BSF was ready to face Pakistan Army or the Rangers and give them a fitting reply in case of any misadventure on the borders. Meanwhile, the Centre has rushed additional forces to Jammu to strengthen positions along the IB to meet the challenge of Pakistan Army and Rangers. Sources said the additional forces were being mobilized to boost morale of the people and strengthen positions of the BSF and meet with any eventuality from across the border. “The deployment of additional troops is being done as a precautionary measure and give a more befitting reply to shelling and firing of Pakistan Rangers,” sources said. The BSF officers today paid floral tributes to Head Constable Mukesh Lal Meena, who sacrificed his life for the nation at Chinaz post in Arnia sector last night. After tributes, his body was sent to his native town of Nipajipura, Mohacha in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan. Seven BSF jawans, who were injured in Arnia last night, have been identified as Inspector Rampal, Sub Inspector Surender Singh, Pradeep Singh, Ashok Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Srinivas Naik and Sandeep Kumar. Condition of all of them was stated to be stable. Sources said apart from all forward villages in Ramgarh, Arnia and RS Pura sectors and some areas of Kanachak, Akhnoor and Pargwal, Pakistan also targeted at least 52 BoPs of BSF in these sectors last night. The BSF jawans gave an effective reply to Pakistan shelling and firing at all the places inflicting heavy damages on the enemy side. However, details of the damages on other side of the IB were not known. People from two forward villages of SM Pur and Jasso Chak in Ramgarh sector, who had deserted their villages for second time in past one week, were camping at Avtaal community hall. In worst affected Arnia sector, mortars and bullets fell in several houses, shops, schools and fields causing extensive damage. Barring one injury to a shopkeeper, the other civilians in the forward areas had a narrow escape. “We had horrifying experience. This is for the first time, we have witnessed such a large scale shelling and firing,” the people of several border villages in Arnia, who spent sleepless night, said. They added that they had witnessed firing on many occasions but such a shelling was unseen and unheard of. They hoped that Indo-Pak hostilities would cease and the crops, which was ready for cutting, wouldn’t be destroyed. Meanwhile, on the Line of Control (LoC), Pakistan Army last night violated ceasefire in Mandi battalion area of Poonch sector from 9.30 pm to 9.45 pm and Hamirpur battalion area in Bhimber Gali sector from 12.30 am to 1 am. “Indian troops retaliated the firing effectively. There were no casualties or damage on the Indian side,” sources said. Meanwhile, amid increasing cases of ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the IB, DIG BSF, Jammu, Dharmendra Pareekh today said this was part of the new strategy evolved by Pakistan to keep the Kashmir issue alive. “This (firing and shelling along the border) is change of strategy and planning across the border to keep the issue of J&K alive,” he told reporters after laying wreath on the body of martyr BSF jawan, Mukesh Lal Meena. He confirmed that the Pakistan Army was helping the Rangers in shelling and firing. Asked if Pakistan wanted to internationalise the Kashmir issue by targeting posts along the border, Mr Pareekh said: “I can say authentically, of course yes.” “Fidayeen attacks took place at the time when Prime Minister was talking to Pakistan. There was a lot in media at that time in support of continuance of the talks. Across the border, they do not want this,” he said. On involvement of Pakistan Army in firing along the border and their assistance to the Rangers in shelling, the DIG BSF said: “we have inputs that Rangers are being helped by regulars.” He, however, ruled out Army’s deployment on Indian side of the border, affirming that the “BSF has sufficient forces to deal with the situation and security of borders.” Asked whether there was any change in security situation, Mr Pareekh said: “there is no big change. After October 15, regularly there are flare-ups. They fire continuously from across the border, we are giving them befitting reply.” “When they will fire, we will reply back with better arms and ammunition.” On infiltration by militants, Mr Pareekh said: “we got lots of inputs from across the border that there are militant groups in league with disruptive forces there. “We have seen movements. In an infiltration attempt, we killed one intruder and they could not succeed. There might be attempts, but so far we have not detected any full movement on the international border. There is movement across, and at some distance from the International Border.” When asked about estimated number of militants across the border waiting to sneak in, he said: “there are militants across, everyone is aware of this. But it is difficult to say about their numbers. There are militant groups active across. It is very difficult to say how many are there.” He said that as a tactical plot, Pakistani Rangers are targeting the villages now as it is difficult to target the posts. “It is easy to target villagers and pressurize them,” Mr Pareekh said. To another question, Mr Pareekh said the morale of the troops is very high. “They are targeting villages to pressurize us. But we will not be cowed down. They are targeting forces to cause damage. They know they can’t caused damage to troops so they target civilians,” he said. On the issue of flag meetings with Pakistan, Mr Pareekh said: “we attempted twice, after October 18 and 20. There was no communication between us, they promised to come back but nobody returned.”