Hours after holding flag meeting in Pargwal sector of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing on Border Security Forces (BSF) outposts along the international border in the area on Thursday morning.
Sources said that the Rangers opened small arms and medium machine gun (MMG) fire at three BSF posts in Pargwal sector at 1.50 am. After some time, the firing stopped, only to resume at 4 am.
The BSF gave a befitting reply and the exchange of fire between two sides continued till 5.55 am. However, there was no casualty or damage on the Indian side.
Significantly, the unprovoked firing from Pakistan came in Pargwal sector within 12 hours of its Rangers holding a flag meeting with BSF near Nikowal post in the area on Wednesday evening.
Pointing out that there had been no firing from across the border in Pargwal sector for the last over a month, sources said that the flag meeting was convened following a request by Rangers.
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Pointing out that the meeting was convened in a cordial atmosphere, sources said that 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 in turn had blamed BSF for the trouble.
While both agreed to the need for maintaining peace on the borders as per 2003 ceasefire agreement, sources said that Rangers, however, wanted BSF to also have a flag meeting at the DIG level. The BSF told them that a message in this regard will be conveyed to them following clearance from their headquarters.
Three civilians had 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. The Rangers, in turn, referred to loss of life and damage to property in firing by BSF on their side during the period.
During 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, “I hope the peace prevails.”