In one of the biggest ceasefire violations this year, Pakistan Rangers resorted to heavy firing and mortar shelling at 22 places along the international border (IB), killing two members of a family and injuring four, including a BSF jawan, in R S Pura and Arnia sectors of Jammu and Kashmir.
The violations began at 12.50 am on Saturday, came to a halt around 7 am before restarting at around 10 pm. Sources said the firing was on till late in the night.
The violations came hours after Indian Army troops discovered a cross-border tunnel close to 50 meters into the LoC in Pallanwala sector near Akhnoor.
Sources said that the Pakistan Rangers first fired with medium and heavy machine guns and long range mortars, in Arnia sector, adding that the firing soon spread to the adjoining R S Pura sector. Sources said the troops targeted 22 BSF border outposts, besides civilian villages, including Jora Farm.
At Jora farm, sources said, two civilians — Mohammad Akram and his two-year-old son — were killed by a mortar shell. Akram and his family were sleeping behind their hut around 4 am when the shell fell near them.
Sources said that civilian casualties and damage to property was reported on Pakistan side as well.
Meanwhile, Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Colonel Maneesh Mehta said the tunnel was found near India’s Chakla Post by an Army patrol Friday night. He said it was 2.6 ft wide and 3.6 ft high, and big enough for terrorists to sneak into India. The tunnel leads towards PoK but appears to be incomplete as its exit on the Indian side has not been found so far. The tunnel is situated about three km from one detected in 2010, sources said.
Following Saturday’s firing, people from nearly two dozen villages along the IB in R S Pura and Arnia sectors started migrating to safer places. Sources said that police and paramilitary forces have advised people to switch off their lights after sunset to avoid being targeted.
Budget earmarked Rs 3.40 crore for the Nirbhaya Fund, to be used for the upkeep of security of women.