India, Pak Hold Another Flag Meeting To Defuse Tension

28 August 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Even as within hours of the first flag meeting at Nikowal Border Out Post (BOP) in Pargwal sector yesterday, Pakistan again opened heavy firing targeting three posts of the BSF and civilian houses at village Devora and Pargwal in Akhnoor tehsil last night causing damage to two houses, which were hit by the bullets, the BSF and Rangers held another Commandant level flag meeting in Ramgarh sector of Samba district this evening. 'This provocative act of Pakistan (the firing) was apparently aimed at sabotaging the peace talks, which had been initiated yesterday by the BSF and Rangers in the same Pargwal sector. It had been decided by the two sides to hold Sector Commander level talks shortly,' official sources told the Excelsior. 'While the talks between Commandant-Wing Comma-nder level between BSF and Rangers concluded at 4.45 pm yesterday after lasting 45 minutes, the Rangers targeted same Pargwal sector barely after five and half hours by resorting to firing at village Devora and Pargwal at 11.15 pm last night using Medium Machine Gun (MMG), small arms and automatic weapons targeting three BSF posts and the forward villages around them,' they said, adding the BSF retaliated effectively. The exchanges lasted till 4 am today, sources said, adding that there were no casualties or damage of the BSF in Pakistan firing. However, two houses at village Devora suffered minor damage after being hit by the bullets fired by the Rangers. Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has deferred his tomorrow's visit to the border areas of RS Pura and Arnia sectors to review the situation and inter-act with the migrants in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Japan. Rajnath accompanied by MoS in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh would now visit the borders after September 3 when PM returns to India from Japan, sources said. However, despite last night's firing, BSF troops and the Rangers today held another Commandant-level flag-meeting along International Border in Samba sector during which they impressed upon each other to respect the ceasefire. 'BSF and Pak Rangers held a flag-meeting in Ramgarh sector of Samba district today,' a police officer said. The Commandant-level flag meeting was held at zero-line between Ballard Post of India and Imran Post of Pakistan this afternoon, he said, adding the Indian side was represented by Commandant of 126 Battalion, Hari Singh. As per reports, two sides are reported to have impressed each other to respect ceasefire along Indo-Pak border. This is the second Commandant-level flag meeting in series of meetings scheduled in various affected sectors ahead of formal Sector Commander (DIG-Brigadier) level meeting to defuse the tension and bring much needed peace on two sides of IB. India and Pakistan yesterday held a commandant-level flag meeting here to resume the derailed talks following heaviest shelling and firing along IB since 1971 war in Jammu sector, as Pakistan requested a Sector Commander level flag meeting to defuse the situation on the border and bring peace. Sources said the firing by the Rangers in Pargwal, which was fifth sector opened up by Pakistan during past one and a half month of hostilities, created panic among the villagers as memories of last year's firing were still afresh among the minds of villagers, who had suffered huge loss in the firing apart from injuries in Pargwal and Kanachak sectors, leading to their migration. 'We were terrified. It was frightening for us to hear the sound of gun shots. Last year, we had suffered heavy losses in terms of property and crops. We don't want the repeat of that. We hope better sense will prevail upon the Rangers and they will stop creating trouble for us,' the villagers said. Sources said only two houses suffered minor damage in the firing but it triggered panic among the people. The firing stopped around 5 am. Surprisingly despite over 45 days long hostilities between India and Pakistan, Pargwal sector had remained untouched of the firing. However, the firing in Pargwal sector started by the Rangers last night within few hours after the BSF and Rangers held flag meeting in Nikowal post of Pargwal. On the other, Arnia, RS Pura, Kanachak and Ramgarh sectors remained peaceful for fourth consecutive day today with no shots fired by any side on the International Border. However, Army continued to man the relief camps for the borders migrants at Arnia, RS Pura and Bishnah providing them all kind of relief material including three time food, clothing, medicines etc. The people were all praise for the Army for coming to their rescue in the hour of crisis and providing them the relief material, which the civil administration miserably failed to do. The people said it was due to the Army that they were surviving otherwise the State Government had badly ignored us and left us at the mercy of Pakistan bullets. 'Army is providing us food, clothing, medicines and all other items of requirements. The State Government and civil administration have done nothing for us. They have left us to die,' they added. It may be mentioned here that BJP president Amit Shah after the tour of RS Pura and Arnia sectors had taken up the matter with Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi about worst condition of the migrants. Jaitley had then asked the Army to take control of the relief camps and provide all facilities to the migrants till conducive conditions were created for their return to homes.