Pakistani forces on Saturday once again resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation along international border and the Line of Control across RS Pura, Akhnoor and Krishna Ghati in Poonch.
A soldier and a 17-year-old boy were among four people killed and 11 others including two BSF men were injured along the Line of Control in Poonch district and on the international border on Saturday as Pakistan pounded Indian posts and forward villages.
Saturday’s casualties have taken the death toll to 10 since Wednesday.
Pakistan Rangers targeted over 30 Indian posts and border villages from RS Pura sector to Akhnoor sector north of Jammu from 5:40 AM after Indian and Pakistani forces had traded heavy fire late into Friday night.
The intensity of Saturday’s fighting could be gauged from the fact that big explosions could be heard in Jammu city. Within a few hours of the shelling in RS Pura and Akhnoor, the Pakistanis opened up another front along the LoC in Poonch on Saturday.
Northern Command spokesman Colonel NN Joshi said, “Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms and automatics from 0820 hours (8.20 AM) in Krishna Ghati sector along the Line of Control (LOC) on Saturday. Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively”.
Sepoy Mandeep Singh (23) who was grievously injured in the exchange of fire, succumbed to his injuries, he added.
Sepoy Mandeep Singh belonged to Alampur village in Sangrur district in Punjab and is survived by his father Gurnaam Singh.
“Sepoy Mandeep Singh was a brave and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” said Col Joshi.
The administration has ordered schools within a five-km range along a section of the LoC and international border to shut for three days.
In Srinagar, the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee asked the Centre government to take effective measures to end the cross-border firing. The JKPCC also accused the Centre of failing to create an atmosphere of peace in the region.
The firing also killed 17-year-old Ghara Singh, son of Ashok Kumar of Kapoorpur village and 45-year-old Ghar Singh of Bera village in RS Pura sector of Jammu district.
As the shelling continued, another civilian Tarsem Kumar, 32, son of Bansi Lal of Gajansoo village in Kanachak sector of Jammu district was killed later in the day.
“Tarsem Singh was brought dead in the Government Medical College and Hospital in Jammu. He was hit by Pak shelling and probably died enroute,” said a police officer of the GMC police post.
A police officer said fresh skirmishes in RS Pura sector also left nine civilians injured.
A BSF spokesperson said, “cross-border firing is going on in whole of the area from Octroi (post in Suchetgarh of RS Pura sector) to Chenab (in Akhnoor sector, north of Jammu)”.
With four more casualties on Saturday, the death toll since Wednesday has gone up to ten — two BSF head constables A Suresh Kumar and Jagpal Singh, two army soldiers — Lance Naik Sam Abraham and Sepoy Mandeep Singh and five civilians– Neelam aka Sweety (17), Bachno Devi (50), Sahil Kumar (25), Ghara Singh (17), Tarsem Singh(32) and Ghar Singh (45) .
Two BSF jawans – constable Ashwani Kumar of 33 Battalion, who was posted a Deora border outpost and head constable Naresh Kumar of 152 Battalion, who was posted at Matkula post were injured in the gunfights on the intervening night of Friday-Saturday.
Since Wednesday, Pakistani shelling on Indian villages and posts has left 34 people injured.