Two BSF personnel and a couple of civilians were injured as Pakistan Rangers resorted to unprovoked mortar shelling and heavy firing at nearly 10 places along the International Border in Arnia and R S Pura areas of Jammu and Kashmir since Sunday night.
Pakistan first fired a sniper shot at BSF’s naka mounds of Tent Guard border outpost at Nikowal around 4 pm. However, no one was injured and the Indian side did not retaliate to it, sources said.
Later, at around 9.15 pm, Pakistan Rangers resorted to heavy volume of unprovoked firing, including mortar shelling, at various places along the International Border in Arnia and R S Pura areas. As the night passed, they intensified firing using even long range weapons.
Some of the mortar shells fell in civilian areas of Suhagpur and Suhagpur Colony in Arnia damaging a few buildings. The roof of Salaria Palace, a community hall, was damaged as a mortar shell pierced through its roof.
The BSF retaliated and the exchange of fire from small arms and automatic weapons continued between the two sides throughout the night.
Two BSF men — Sunil Kumar from UP and Vishnu Nandan Yadav from Jharkhand — and two civilians —Rani Devi and Rishu Kumar, both residents of Suhagpur Colony — were injured in the gunbattle, the sources said.
Senior BSF officials from Jammu have rushed to Arnia to take stock of the situation. Inspector General of BSF, Jammu frontier, Rakesh Sharma expressed concern over the unprovoked firing by Pakistan Rangers, especially after in a goodwill gesture they repatriated a BSF man who was swept across the border by Chenab river. An atmosphere of goodwill had started to build, but the latest incidents of unprovoked firing especially on civilian areas have again led to uncertainty along the borders, the official said.
Significantly, Pakistani troops have been resorting to ceasefire violation along the International Border and the Line of Control for the last three days. On Saturday and Sunday, Pakistan violated ceasefire by targeting forward Indian positions in Bhimber Gali and areas of Rajouri and Poonch districts.
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