Indian troops retaliated after the unprovoked firing
One junior commissioned officer (JCO) of the Indian Army died when Pakistani troops resorted to small arms gunfire on the LoC in Sawjian area of Mandi sub sector of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday.
Defence sources said that Naib Subedar Bachhan Singh sustained critical injuries when he was hit by shrapnel close to his Khalsa-2 post. He succumbed to injuries before being evacuated to a hospital.
A Defence spokesman at Northern Command headquarters at Udhampur told The Hindu that the Pakisnai troops used Pika guns, RPGs and UBGLs in the “unprovoked firing” that started at 1300 hours in Mandi area of the LoC in Poonch. He said that the Indian troops responded with ‘calibrated retaliation’ and the exchange of fire was going on intermittently when the reports last came in late in the afternoon.
After a series of the border skirmishes since January this year, this is the first fatal casualty the Indian troops have suffered in the last over two months. Friday’s violation of the 2003 ceasefire between the Indian and the Pakistani troops on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir has occurred in a day of Nawaz Sharief’s assuming office as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Pakistani troops opened heavy firing with automatic weapons and Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs) on Indian posts along the LoC in Subjian sub-sector of Poonch at around 1 pm, the officer said.
Indian troops retaliated after the unprovoked firing, he said, adding the exchange of fire was continuing till late in the day.
Army suspects that the firing was aimed at providing a cover to infiltrators trying to sneak in the Indian side. The entire area has been cordoned off and a search operation has been launched, he said.
Earlier, on May 27, Pakistani troops had pounded Indian posts along the LoC in the same Poonch sector with rockets.
A Brigadier and two jawans were injured on May 24, when Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian positions along the LoC in the Tutmari Gali sector in Jammu and Kashmir.