3 More Rangers Killed Amid Heavy Mortar Shelling In Hiranagar, Samba

2 January 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: At least three Pakistani Rangers were killed as BSF responded effectively to heavy mortar shelling and firing by Pakistan late tonight in Hiranagar and Samba sectors as security forces foiled infiltration attempt by a group of seven to eight militants at Chor Gali in Samba sector. After the killing of seven Rangers during past three days, Pakistan has moved its Army personnel at some places opposite the International Border of Samba sector. Top official sources told the Excelsior around midnight tonight that the BSF retaliated after the Rangers started pounding about dozen forward BSF posts and all villages falling along the IB in entire Hiranagar and Samba sectors at 9.30 pm killing three Rangers at Bhopalpur, Aghora and Khora Pakistani posts opposite Mangu Chak in Samba sector at around 11 pm tonight. The BSF retaliation was necessitated to save the civilians on Indian side from heavy mortar shelling and firing by the Pakistani Rangers in all forward villages of Hiranagar and Samba sectors, sources said, adding that under the cover of shelling and firing, the Rangers tried to push a group of seven to eight heavily armed militants from forward area of Chor Gali in Samba sector at 11.30 pm tonight. The alert BSF jawans spotted the militants intruding towards the Indian territory and opened heavy firing towards them. The militants fled back to Pakistan sensing imminent killing at the hands of the BSF, sources said, adding that a major infiltration attempt was foiled by the BSF. After suffering heavy casualties in retaliatory firing, the Rangers were trying to push militants into the Indian territory to cause BSF and civilian killings. However, the BSF foiled the plot hatched by the Rangers by thwarting the infiltration attempt. Sources confirmed that in view of the failure of Rangers on the IB, Pakistan has deployed Army in some areas opposite Samba sector. About two dozen posts of the BSF and all forward villages in Hiranagar and Samba sectors came under intense mortar shelling and firing from the Rangers at 9.30 pm. The BSF, which was anticipating such a situation after the killing of four Pakistani Rangers in retaliatory firing of the force on Wednesday, immediately retaliated, leading to heavy exchanges. All forward posts and villages in Paharpur, Katau, Charu, Londi, Patti, Chakara, Lacchipura, Bobiya, Pansar, Manyari, Karol and Paharpur in Hiranagar sector, Khwara, Regal, Chilyari, Manguchak, Chachyal, Ramgarh, Maluchak, Suchetgarh Kullian and Mawa in Samba sectors were being targeted by the Rangers, sources said adding that the firing continued till midnight tonight when the reports last came in. However, there had been no reports of any casualties or damage on the Indian side. Civil and police administration of Samba and Kathua districts including Deputy Commissioners of Samba and Kathua Mubarak Singh and Shahid Iqbal Choudhary and SSPs Anil Magotra and Pawan Parihar pressed bullet-proof bunkers and ambulances into service and deployed them in forward areas to evict the civilians if any of them was injured in the Pakistan firing. SDPO Hiranagar Diwakar Singh visited forward villages late in the night and inter-acted with the Panchayat members. Sources confirmed that in some of the villages, the people left their houses in the night when heavy shelling started and took shelter in religious places and adjacent school buildings. Some people, who had bunkers in their houses, took shelter there. 'All Sarpanchs, Panchs, Lamberdars, Chowkidars and prominent persons in all border villages of Hiranagar and Samba have been issued advisories and asked to stay in touch with civil and police administration especially in case of any injuries to the civilians, who required evacuation,' sources said. Sound of explosions of heavy mortar shells was being heard in Samba town, sources said. They added that the BSF was responding very effectively to the firing and shelling. BSF Director General DK Pathak, who briefed Home Minister Rajnath Singh at 10 pm said in New Delhi that the force had thwarted a 'major infiltration attempt' from across the border tonight and his troops were on high alert. 'We have foiled a major infiltration bid that was being carried out from across the Chorgali border outpost under the cover of heavy ceasefire violation firing,' Pathak said. With the violations continuing unabated, Singh had ordered BSF to respond with 'appropriate' action. The Home Minister also said the firing was unprovoked. Today's ceasefire violation was the fourth by the Rangers in as many days and the eighth in the last nine days. The firing and mortar shelling by Pakistani Rangers has come from Razab Sheed, Asif Sheed, Chak Bhura, New Pak and Dhandhar Posts, according to reports. Police used speakers and announced that people should stay indoors and not to venture outside, sources said, adding that they have been also told to take shelter in bunkers. Pakistan Rangers yesterday targeted 13 BoPs in Samba sector a day after four Pakistani rangers were killed in a sharp counter-attack following the death of an Indian jawan in cross-border firing. Earlier in the day, India today lodged very strong protest with Pakistan-first on hotline and second by handing over a strong worded written document to the Rangers-over unprovoked ceasefire violations and targeting civilian areas in utter violations of humanitarian norms along the International Border (IB) in Samba sector. The BSF has warned the Rangers of dire consequences and serious repercussions if they repeated the ceasefire violations and targeted the civilian areas. Sources said that the BSF initially lodged strong protest with the Rangers over series of ceasefire violations along the IB in Samba sector during the past few days in which a BSF jawan was killed and another seriously injured while some houses were damaged after being hit by mortar shelling and firing at Khwara, Suchetgarh Kullian, Regal and Mawa for areas of the IB. After the hotline protest, the BSF handed over a written strong worded protest letter to the Rangers at Suchetgarh sector in which they took serious exception to unprovoked and heavy shelling and firing by the Rangers on BSF patrol party and civilian areas in Samba sector during the past few days killing a BSF jawan and injuring another seriously. The BSF charged the Rangers with firing 50 rounds from automatic weapons followed by rifle grenade on a BSF patrol just 100 meters from the International Border in Regal area of Samba sector on Wednesday in a clear act of without any provocation killing one of the BSF jawans and injuring another when they were conducting routine patrolling in the forward area to keep vigil. The protest letter said while the Rangers gave assurance of not firing again on the Indian side, they didn't keep the assurance and again opened firing on intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday not only targeting the BSF pickets but also the civilian areas in which some houses were damaged. 'The mortar shelling and firing in civilian areas is clear violation of humanitarian norms,' the BSF protest letter said and called upon the Rangers to desist from such activities or otherwise get ready for serious repercussions as the BSF would have no option but to retaliated very effectively in case of any fresh misadventure from across the border. It may be mentioned here that after the killing of BSF jawan, the BSF had retaliated very effectively killing four Rangers. Both Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Home Minister Rajnath Singh have called upon security forces to give effective retaliation to Pakistan firing on the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border and ensure protection of the civilians at any cost.