‘Be Ready for Collateral Damages if You Fire’

JAMMU: Asserting that the BSF never fires “first” towards the Pakistan side along the International Border, the force on Thursday said the neighbouring country should be ready to suffer collateral damages if the Indian side retaliates.

“If Pakistan rangers fire on us, we will also fire on them. If they suffer collateral damages (in our action), they (Pakistan) should be ready for that,” Inspector General (IG) of BSF, Jammu Frontier, Rakesh Sharma told reporters here today.

Sharma was speaking to media persons at a function held to pay homage to constable Shri Ram Gawaria who died yesterday, when Pakistan violated ceasefire along International Border (IB) in Samba sector by firing on a BSF patrol party. Four Pakistan rangers were killed in retaliatory firing by the BSF.

Asked whether there were instructions from the Centre to give befitting reply to Pakistan, the IG said, “There were already clear instructions in the past as also this time and will continue in future too.”

“But we never open fire on Pakistan first. You have seen that we have never fired first on the Pakistan on IB. If we are being fired upon, we will not sit silent…we will retaliate,” the IG said.

The IG termed yesterday’s firing by Pakistan as an act of frustration.

“See how Pakistan rangers have snipped the patrol party of BSF. This is utter frustration of Pakistan as they are not getting an opportunity to infiltrate into this side.”

Asked about the reason behind the continuance of the firing incidents from across the border, Sharma said, “Whenever there is an internal problem in Pakistan, they try to engineer ceasefire violations in a bid to divert attention of its general public there—both on LoC and International Border. This is their deliberate conspiracy.”

 “It is beyond our comprehension why Pakistan is resorting to firing on our borders. One reason is that their internal disturbances as their internal situation is very bad in wake of terror attacks there and may be to divert the attention of the public,” he added.

On the issue of terror infrastructure across IB, the IG said it was difficult to tell the exact number of militants ready to infiltrate to this side.

He said there could be 50-60 militants waiting for opportunities to infiltrate into this side.

“We have increased the deployment for area dominations.

As far as the winter strategy is concerned, our security grid is strong on the borders,” he said.

“There are various smaller militant groups waiting for opportunity to infiltrate into this side of the border and carry out some terror attacks. But there is a high degree of vigilance on the borders and despite the adverse weather conditions, BSF men are dominating and patrolling areas round the clock,” he added.

“Winter strategy is in place on the borders. We have tight security on the borders. Our manpower on the borders and jawans are very alert and vigilant, whether it is day or night,” he said.

The IG ruled out firing by Pakistan in civilian areas yesterday.

About reports that some ‘fidayeens’ also carry out firing from across the border, the IG said, “There are reports, but the (yesterday’s) firing was carried out by Pak rangers.” — Agencies

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