Jawan killed in `unprovoked fire` by Pak troops along LoC

via Courtesy:zeenews.com published on May 19, 2008

Jammu, May 19: A day ahead of the Indo-Pak talks, Pakistani troops on Monday opened unprovoked heavy fire on an Indian forward post in Jammu and Kashmir`s Poonch sector killing an army jawan and violating the ceasefire.

“Pakistani troops resorted to heavy and unprovoked firing on our forward posts at Mendhar in Poonch sector around 0800 hours today,” Brigadier General Staff, Brig Gurdeep Singh said.

The firing, which continued for nearly 15 minutes, resulted in death of the jawan, he said, adding Indian troops later took up positions but observed restraint.

Giving details about the incident, defence spokesman Lt Col S D Goswami said besides the firing, the Pakistani troops targeted the Dhip Post along the LoC with UBGL grenades and rockets.

Naik Yashwant Singh of 2/8 Gorkha Rifles was killed, he said. “They (Pakistan Army) has violated Indo-Pak ceasefire by resorting to heavy firing on our positions.”

The incident comes ahead of the first high-level contact between the two countries after a new government in Pakistan assumed office. While foreign secretaries of the two neighbours are scheduled to meet tomorrow in Islamabad, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will hold parleys with his Pakistani Counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday.

Taking a serious note of the firing and truce violation, army authorities deployed in Mendhar sector lodged a strong protest with their Pakistan counterparts.

Army authorities conveyed to the Pakistani commanders that firing on loc post was resorted to from their forward positions.

“We have also asked Pakistani authorities to hold a flag meeting over the issue,” Brig Singh said.

There are reports that nearly 3,600 terrorists are massed in PoK waiting to cross the border. The incident comes as President Pratibha Patil is scheduled to undertake a visit to the forward areas in Kashmir valley on May 23. Patil will also visit forward-most posts in Uri sector in north Kashmir.

Army, as a precautionary measure, has undertaken redeployment and repositioning of forces in the state to foil infiltration attempts. Troops, according to army sources, have reoccupied strategic heights along the LoC that are normally thin in winter months as heavy snowfall makes penetration very difficult.

Officials said this is the third truce violation in less than a fortnight. On May 9, Pakistani troops targeted a BSF post and a patrol party along the international border in samba sector and indulged in heavy fire.

Five days later, Indian posts in Tangdhar belt of Kupwara were targeted with mortar shells.

The ceasefire came into being on November 16, 2003 and no violation of the truce was reported till May 9. This is the third ceasefire violation along the Indo-Pak border and second along the LoC in less than a fortnight.

Sources said there might be attempts to push in militants before the start of the Amarnath Yatra and polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, army has increased the guard along forward areas by inducting three more units of Rashtriya Rifles drawn from counter-insurgency security grid in in-depth areas of Surnakote and deployed them on LoC guard duty in Rajouri- Poonch. BSF is also deploying more companies along the international border to plug infiltration routes from PoK.

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