Two civilians killed in Pak firing; BSF says it has killed 15 Pak soldiers in one week

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Rajouri: Army Jawans & Jammu Kashmir Police during a search operation after dozens of rusted grenades and bullets were recovered during excavation in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. PTI Photo (PTI10_20_2016_000277B)

Jammu: As military confrontation increased on the border, two civilians were killed in Jammu region of India in cross-border shelling and firing overnight even as BSF today claimed to have killed 15 Pakistani soldiers over the last one week.

BSF, which primarily guards the International Border with Pakistan, said it had also foiled two infiltration bids in Samba district two days back. Besides, BAT (Border Action Team) attacks from Pakistani side along the Line of Control have also been thwarted during the past 24 hours.

Firing mortar shells and using automatic weapons, Pakistani troops targeted civilian areas and forward security posts along the International Border and Line of Control in Jammu, Kathua, Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

“At 1720 hour yesterday, Pakistan Rangers started unprovoked heavy firing and shelling in Kathua sector of Jammu which further spread to Hiranagar and Samba. It continued till 0500 hours today in the area of 24 BSF posts,” a senior BSF officer said.

“In the Pakistani shelling, one civilian died in Khour belt of Pallanwala sector today,” Jammu Deputy Commissioner Simrandeep Singh said, adding another civilian was injured in R S Pura sector.

Similarly, one woman Usma Bi, aged 50 years, was killed in shelling by Pakistan on Gohlad village in Mendhar tehsil of Poonch district today, Defence spokesman said.

Another civilian was injured in area, the reports said.

BSF Additional Director General Arun Kumar said as per the ammunition used, it seems Pakistani Army Army is backing the Rangers and has taken over the posts of paramilitary force, which is further cause of escalation.

Kumar, who laid wreath at the moral remains of the BSF martyr Head Constable Jitendra Singh here, said “they (Pakistani side) are resorting to heavy firing and shelling and we are giving them befitting reply.”

He said BSF has inflicted heavy damage on Pakistani side.

“As far the number of casualities on other side is concerned, which our men have seen through our eyes and instruments, 15 Pakistani soldiers have been killed after the sniping incident of Constable Gurnam Singh (on October 21),” he said. Gurnam was injured in the sniper firing and then succumbed to the injuries.

“They (Pakistani side) have suffered damage but are hiding them in public domain and they do not accept it. Last night we have destroyed their OP (observation post) towers and some OP towers caught fire due to our firing,” Kumar said.

He said Pakistani Rangers, Pakistani regulars and civilian population on their side have suffered heavy damage because of the Indian retaliation.

“The damage to civilian population is much more (than us)… We have seen large number of ambulances coming and picking up injured. They have been making announcements from mosques asking people to assemble for last rites. All that points that they suffered a lot,” the BSF officer said.

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