In another ceasefire violation, Pakistani Rangers on Wednesday opened heavy fire at Indian border outposts along the International Border in the Arnia area of the RS Pura sector in Jammu district, killing a BSF jawan and leaving three other BSF personnel injured.
Four civilians were also injured in the firing. The condition of one of the injured BSF guard is stated to be critical. This was the first casualty of any BSF jawan in Pak firing along the International Border in the Jammu region since Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister on May 26 this year. On June 12, a soldier was killed and a Major among seven other troopers were injured in two IED blasts in the Tarkundi area along the LoC in Poonch district. The IEDs were planted by Pak Army in tandem with 'rogue elements'. Caught off-guard by Pak firing, farmers sowing paddy in the fields had to run for cover.
In a retaliatory fire, the BSF says it has either killed or seriously injured a Pak Ranger. “Trouble started around 11.30 am when constable Som Raj on an observation tower in the Arnia area was hit by a sniper shot from across the border, probably fired by the Rangers. He sustained injuries on his right shoulder,” BSF Jammu Frontier DIG Dharmender Pareekh said. When two other BSF personnel — ASI Madan Lal and constable Sanjay Dhar went to evacuate constable Som Raj, the Rangers again opened fire injuring Lal and Dhar, the DIG said. Dhar, who was hit in the stomach, later died at Government Medical College and Hospital here. He belonged to West Bengal. Condition of Som Raj is stated to be critical, the DIG said. “We retaliated effectively and in the exchange of gunfire, we either killed or seriously injured a Ranger as we did saw him falling and then being carried away by his colleagues,” he said.
In the exchange of fire that continued till 1 pm, another BSF jawan and four civilians, including three migrant labourers from Bihar, and a local were injured, he said. The DIG said the Rangers used small arms and HMG fire. “We gave them a calibrated response. The situation is tense and we are on an alert,” he said.
Soon after the skirmish, BSF’s Jammu Frontier IG SS Tomar along with Pareekh and other senior officers rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
Pak firing comes a day after the two sides held a flag meeting at the Chamliyal border outpost in the Ramgarh area of the Samba sector yesterday to discuss removal of wild bushes along the Zero Line and adjoining areas to improve visibility during patrolling. This is the third ceasefire violation by Pakistan in July. An Intelligence source said: “Pak Rangers opened fire from their South Jarba and adjoining posts post on Pittal post of the BSF being manned by 192 battalion close to Pindi post around 11.15 am.” “There was a sudden burst of fire from across the border at 11.30 am and everything happened in a few seconds. My colleagues and I were hit,” said injured constable Som Raj (23).