A day before the arrival of Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on his two day maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, the Pakistani troops resorted to mortar shelling at nearly half a dozen places in Bhimber Gali (BG) sector falling in Rajouri district on Friday morning.
Some of the shells even fell in residential areas, causing panic among local villagers. Though there was no loss of life or damage to property, a buffalo was injured.
A Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Colonel Maneesh Mehta here said that Pakistani troops started firing mortars and rockets on the Indian side around 7.30 am. The Indian Army also retaliated and the exchange of fire stopped after 25 minutes. There was no casualty or damage to property on the Indian side.
The Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also wrote on social networking site Twitter that ‘significant ceasefire violation in Rajouri and Poonch, with reports of some shells having landed in civilian areas. Some livestock loss’. In another tweet, he asked whether it is just a coincidence that ceasefire violation has taken place when Defence Minister Arun Jaitley is visiting the state tomorrow.
Significantly, the ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops came in an area adjoining to Balakote sector of Poonch where one Army jawan had died and a Major among eight soldiers injured in twin blasts triggered by terrorists near the LoC on Thursday. In the first blast apparently caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), an Army jawan was killed and three others injured when they were doing patrolling along the LoC at Tarkundi.
However, in yet another explosion near the Line of Control the same evening in Jammu and Kashmir, an Army Major was among five Indian soldiers injured at Tarkundi in Poonch district last evening.
Significantly, the second explosion came in the same area around 5.30 pm, nearly nine hours after the first blast killed a soldier and injured three others there on Thursday morning. Both the IED and the landmine had been planted by terrorists who appear to have come from across the LoC taking advantage of the deployment of a new army unit in the area.
The deceased have been identified as Sepoy Shankar Singh of 20 JAT and the injured as Major K K Bhatia of 66 Engineering Regiment, Havaldar Sushil Kumar, Launce Naik Mohinder Singh, besides Sukhwinder, Shailender Prakash and Shibu Ram Singh –all sepoys. They belonged to 20 JAT and 6 Rajputana Rifles.
An alert has been sounded in the area and massive searches launched to check any more explosive device planted by terrorists in the area. Senior army officers have rushed there following second explosion there within less than nine hourbesiuds.
Sources said that terrorists appear to have got a chance to sneak into the Indian territory as the existing 20 JAT Regiment was being replaced by 6 Rajputana Rifles in the area. General lytheprocess takes over some days as the moving out unit has to brief the new one about geographical location, traditional infiltration routes and other strategic locations.
Though such explosions by Pakistan troops or terrorists have not been new along the LoC, the two on Thursday came nearly a week after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi wrote that he looked forward to working with him to resolve all unsettled issues. Moreover, both the explosions took place when the Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley is coming to the state on a two day visit beginning Saturday to review situation.