In a first, the Border Security Force personnel on Thursday night gunned down a middle-aged woman from Pakistan in Pargwal area of Akhnoor sector mistaking her as a terrorist infiltrating into the Indian territory from across the international border under the cover of darkness. Identified as Rashida Begum, wife of Abdul Rashid of Old Deoura in Pakistan, sources said that she appeared to have inadvertently strayed into the Indian territory in Pargwal area of Akhnoor sector due to darkness. As a shawl was wrapped around her body, the BSF personnel could not distinguish her gender in view of darkness.
She was repeatedly challenged by the BSF personnel when she stepped into the Indian territory around 9.30 pm. However, ignoring repeated warnings, she continued to proceed towards the barbed wire fence. As such, when she reached near the border fence, the latter taking her as an intruder opened fire killing her on the spot.
The body of the deceased kept lying across the border fence throughout night. It was only on Friday morning that BSF came to know about the deceased being a woman when they went to lift the body.
Senior officers reached the spot and it was during enquiry that some farmers on Pakistan side shouted that the deceased hailed from their side. The BSF handed over the body to local police who later handed it over to Pakistani Rangers.
Sources said that following a number of “stand off attacks” by heavily armed terrorists on BSF troops during the recent past so as to force their entry into the Indian territory, the latter have been issued shoot orders on anyone who does not respond to their warnings after crossing the border. In Kathua district, BSF troops apprehended a Pakistani national when he crossed over to Indian side near Paharpur post. The apprehended person is stated to be mentally disturbed.
Meanwhile, BSF and Pakistani Rangers held flag meeting near Pansar Border outpost wherein the former registered its protest over latter’s unprovoked firing of rockets in Bobiyan area during October last year. The Rangers objected to maintenance works and the burning of sarkanda by Indian side in the border areas. The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere with both sides agreeing to maintain peace and tranquility on the borders. The meeting ended with exchange of sweets between them.