India rebuts Pakistan charge of provoking fire

Jawans stand guard near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. File photo   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Directors-General of Military Operations (DGMO) of India and Pakistan held talks over the hotline on Friday during which Pakistan accused India of unprovoked shelling across the Jammu Sector in which at least six Pakistani civilians were killed.

In response to the allegation, the Indian DGMO, Lieutenant-General A.K. Bhatt, said all ceasefire violations in the Jammu Sector were initiated by Pakistan Rangers. The Border Security Force troops “only responded appropriately to them”.

The DGMO talks were requested by the Pakistan Army, and Major-General Sahir Shamshad Mirza raised the issue of targeting of civilians opposite the Jammu Sector by Indian troops, the Army said in a statement.

Civilians killed

Earlier in the day, the Pakistan Military’s Inter-Services Public Relations said six civilians were killed and 26 injured in alleged Indian shelling along the Line of Control in the Jammu sector. They released photographs of Pakistani civilians, including children, who were allegedly injured in Indian firing.

The Indian Army statement said: “It was also emphasised that no targeted firing on civilians was carried out by Indian troops. Apart from these, firing by BSF troops was initiated onto armed intruders attempting to infiltrate from close proximity of Pak posts along Amritsar border.”

Lt.Gen. Bhatt said the trend of infiltration along the LoC continued with support of Pakistani forward posts.

“This was evident from continued attempts of sniping and targeting of our troops undertaken through cross-border actions duly supported by Pakistani Army troops,” the statement said.

Officials from the Military Operations directorates of the two countries talk every Tuesday, but the DGMOs speak to each other only when one side requests a conversation.

Bodies taken back

In a first, Pakistani forces took back the bodies of two “armed infiltrators” who were shot dead along the border early on Wednesday morning, BSF sources said.

BSF personnel said they were “surprised” by the action. Pakistan has in the past accepted bodies of unarmed people who were killed while crossing the border inadvertently, but never took back the corpses of those killed while fighting the BSF, an official said.

The intruders were shot dead on the intervening night of September 19 and 20. The BSF foiled an armed infiltration bid across the International Border in the Ajnala Sector, near Amritsar, in Punjab.

“When challenged by the BSF, infiltrators fired on an ambush line with automatic weapons. Taking cover, the fire was appropriately retaliated and infiltrators were killed near the fence,” the official said.

Huge haul

The BSF said four packets of heroin weighing one kg each, an AK-47 rifle, magazines, a 9 mm pistol, a Pakistani mobile phone and ₹20,000 in Pakistani currency were recovered from the infiltrators.

On Thursday, the BSF called a flag meeting and contacted their Pakistani counterparts. “We gave them pictures of the two killed infiltrators. We were sure that they would refuse to accept them as their citizens; to our surprise, they agreed to take them back,” the official said.

He said the logistics were arranged by Pakistan to take back the bullet-ridden bodies.

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 9:50:26 PM |

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