8:54 pm - Wednesday September 26, 2018

Nine days and eight lives later, Pakistan holds fire along border

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After nine days of heavy firing and mortar shelling from across the border, firing deescalated along the 192-km long International Border in Jammu frontier overnight with Pakistan opening fire on four border outposts in Kathua district.

There was no firing along the IB in Jammu and Samba districts.

“There was no cross-border firing during the intervening night of October 9 and 10 along the International Border in Jammu and Samba districts,” a BSF spokesman told PTI on Friday.

However, there was firing by Pakistan along the IB in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district for 20 minutes from 8 p.m. to 8.20 p.m. involving four BSF BoPs, the spokesman said.

“There was no loss of life or damage”, he said.

The IB has witnessed heavy firing for nine days that has left eight persons dead and injured nearly 90 people, including 13 securitymen.

Besides over 32,000 people have fled from their border homes leaving 113 hamlets deserted along the IB.

India and Pakistan troops traded heavy fire along the IB on the intervening night of October 7 and 8 after Pakistan Rangers shelled almost the entire IB by targeting 60 BoPs and over 130 border hamlets in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts of Jammu and Kashmir, in which 15 people including three BSF jawans were injured.

There has been over thee dozen ceasefire violations along IB since October 1, 2014.

On October 8, two women of a family were killed and 15 others injured in heavy mortar shelling and firing by Pakistani troops along the IB.

Five villagers were killed and 34 injured on the intervening night of October 5 and 6 in heavy mortar shelling and firing from across the IB and the LoC in Jammu and Poonch sectors, triggering strong condemnation by India.

On October 3, Pakistani troops and rangers violated ceasefire four times by shelling forward areas and villages along the LoC and the IB in Gulmarg sector of Kashmir Valley and Poonch and Jammu sector in Jammu region in which a girl was killed and six persons were injured.

On October 2, Pakistani troops targeted border hamlets in forward areas along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district by shelling them with mortar bombs and firing resulting in injuries to six civilians.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Thursday that the only way for Pakistan to normalise the situation is to silence its guns.

“The easiest way, if Pakistan wants to normalise the situation, is to silence its guns. If they stop shelling, I am sure that everyone will stop from here. And that will put an end to this,” he said.

“Pakistan is deliberately targeting civilian areas and that is evident from the number of the casualties that have occurred on this side,” he said.

To disrupt the upcoming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the militant leadership in Pakistan is desperate to push in large number of militants into the Indian side to carry out terrorism-related activities, Army officials have said.

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