After a continuous exchange of fire along the international border from Samba to Kanachak in Jammu & Kashmir for the last 45 days, both India and Pakistan on Friday held an over three-hour long sector commander level flag meeting in Suchetgarh sector on Friday .
The flag meeting, second since Wednesday, as the first one was held in Pargwal where Pakistani Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing on BSF positions yesterday, started at Octroi post in Suchetgarh sector at 4.30 am. At the meeting, which concluded at 8 pm, Pakistani Rangers were represented by Brigadier Mateen Khan and BSF DIG B S Khatana.
Though there was no official word about the meeting, sources said that BSF had registered a strong protest with the Rangers for targetting civilian population on the Indian side. The BSF also presented them with evidence about their involvement in the incidents of ceasefire violations taking place since July 16.
The Rangers, however, denied any wrongdoing and held the Indian side responsible for the spate of ceasefire violations. They also blamed the BSF for loss of many civilian lives and huge damage to property in shelling on their side of the border.
Sources said that the Pakistani Rangers had asked BSF for resumption of secretary-level talks between the two countries at their flag meeting in Pargwal sector on Wednesday evening.
During their Wednesday meeting, the BSF had formally lodged a strong protest over Rangers continuously resorting to unprovoked firing and mortar shelling on forward Indian positions and civilian areas in R S Pura and Arnia sectors for the last 45 days. The Rangers, who in turn blamed BSF for the violations, had resorted to firing at two BSF posts in the area the same night.
Three civilians died and 17 others including four BSF personnel were injured in small arms and automatic weapons fire on the Indian side by Pakistani Rangers since July 16.
During a tour of border areas in R S Pura and Arnia sectors, BSF Director General D S Pathak had said that firing by Pakistani Rangers in last 45 days was the heaviest since 1971 war between the two countries. Pointing out that Rangers were not responding to their request for flag meeting at field levels, he had said that “I hope the peace prevails”.
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.