Border guards of India and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to observe calm along the international border to allow farmers harvest crops in the zero line on Jammu frontier at a flag meeting, at which the BSF lodged strong protest against frequent ceasefire violations from across the border.
“We have lodged a protest with them (over ceasefire violations, shelling in civilian areas and snipping incidents)”, DIG (BSF) J.C. Singla, said after conclusion of the meeting at Octroi border outpost along IB in R.S. Pura.
“Now the farmers can harvest their paddy crops till the border line without any fear as it was decided to observe calm. The meeting passed in conducive atmosphere and there were some very good decisions taken in the meeting,” he said.
Both sides will keep monitoring along the international border and “we will ensure that peace prevails along the borderline,” Mr. Singla said.
The DIG-Brigadier level flag meeting began at 11.30 a.m. and continued for more than three hours, with Mr. Singla representing the BSF and Brigadier Mateen, sector commander of Chenab Rangers, representing the Pakistani side.
Since October 14, 2013 Pakistan Rangers shelled border villages and outposts with mortars bombs and rocket shells, besides heavy firing from LMGs and automatic weapons along the IB in Jammu frontier.
One jawan was killed in these incidents while 32 others, including 17 civilians, had suffered injuries.
However, Pakistan had denied involvement of its troops.
There have been repeated ceasefire violations from across the border and incidents of intense shelling, firing, snipping and BAT attacks on forward posts, besides infiltration.
Since August this year, nine jawans have lost their lives in these incidents whereas 46 others, including 25 civilians, suffered injuries.
BSF troops had earlier tried to hold flag meeting on October 18 and 20 at two forward border outposts in Samba district, but Pakistan Rangers did not turn up for the same.
BSF had again sent communication through hotline and received response from Pak Rangers, which raised white flags and communicated its approval for flag meeting.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had said Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should honour the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two countries.
“If Sharif wants to go the ‘extra mile’ to make peace with India, he should first ensure that the ceasefire violations stop,” he had said.
Mr. Abdullah and his cabinet colleagues had also visited the forward border hamlets on Friday.