Eight days after agreeing to maintain ceasefire along the international border in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani Rangers on Tuesday resorted to unprovoked firing in Samba district’s Chamliyal area, killing four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, including an assistant commandant.
The exchange of fire comes as a set back to the temporary suspension of operations and political process of dialogue, and has been condemned by both the BJP and Congress as a “betrayal” by Pakistan despite commitment to maintain ceasefire.
Assistant Commandant Jitender Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector Ramniwas and Constable Hansraj Gurjar — all from Rajasthan — and Sub-Inspector Rajneesh Kumar from Uttar Pradesh were killed, while three others were injured in the firing, BSF officials said. The firing, which started around 10.30 pm, had continued till 2 am, they said.
“Our team (the BSF personnel) was moving with defence material, when Pakistani Rangers opened fire. This was followed by mortar shelling and this is how the casualty took place,” Additional Director General of BSF Kamal Nayan Choubey said.
He added that as the Pakistani Rangers, at a sector commander-level flag meeting with the BSF on June 4, had agreed to maintain ceasefire along the international border in Jammu region, the BSF personnel were moving towards a mound on an open tractor.
“After they got hit (in the firing), the assistant commandant along with some BSF officials rushed to evacuate the injured in a normal Gypsy, instead of a bullet proof vehicle,” Choubey said.
The assistant commandant, who is survived by his wife and a five-year-old son, had been on leave for the past few days and had resumed duty in Chamliyal area on Tuesday.
Expressing concern over a “lack of credibility” in Pakistan’s request for a flag meeting, the BSF ADG said: “Our concern is, there was a ceasefire violation by Pakistan, despite the flag meeting, especially when it was convened at their behest.”
“We maintained the sanctity of the ceasefire, but they did not.”
Referring to Pakistan’s long history of betrayals, Choubey said that on May 29, Pakistan held DGMO-level talks with India and assured to maintain peace along Jammu and Kashmir borders, but had resorted to mortar shelling, which left two BSF personnel, including an ASI, dead and 10 injured in Jammu district.
DGP S P Vaid also claimed that “Pakistan cannot be trusted” in view of its repeated betrayals after flag meetings.
Criticising Pakistan for “back stabbing” India, BJP state president Ravinder Raina said the country will be answered appropriately. State Congress president, G A Mir, said Pakistan’s cowardly act, despite commitment at DGMO level talks to maintain ceasefire, need to be condemned in strongest possible words.