Another Soldier Killed, 3 Injured In Cross-LoC Firing

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Indian forces personnel patrolling near the line of control | File Photo

Jammu: A havaldar in the Indian Army was killed and three others, including two women, were injured on Saturday as India and Pakistan troops traded heavy gunfire along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

The casualties came barely a week after multiple ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along the LoC in north Kashmir left 11 people, including five soldiers and a border guard, dead on November 13.

Havaldar Patil Sangram Shivaji, who was manning a forward post, was critically injured in the Pakistani firing in the Lam area of Rajouri district’s Nowshera sector around 1 am, the officials said, adding he later succumbed to injuries.

Another soldier also sustained injuries and is currently undergoing treatment at a military hospital, they said.

The officials said the Indian Army retaliated effectively to silence the Pakistani guns, and the cross-border firing between the two sides continued for quite some time.

In a statement, a defence spokesman said Havaldar Shivaji, a resident of Nigave village of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, was a brave, highly motivated and sincere soldier.

“The nation will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” he said.

In another ceasefire violation this evening, the officials said two women – Sakina Bi (40) and Mansha bi (18) – were injured in firing and mortar shelling along the LoC in Bhagal Dara village of Digwar sector in Poonch district.

Both the injured were evacuated to hospital amid shelling which started around 5.50 pm, the officials said, adding there were also firing in Malti and Dallan sectors in Poonch district.

The defence spokesman said Pakistan also fired small arms and mortars in the Nowshera sector of Rajouri about 6 pm, prompting retaliation by Indian army.

The cross-border firing was going on when last reports were received, he said. The officials said Pakistani Rangers also resorted to unprovoked firing along the IB in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district.

The firing on Satpal, Manyari, Ladwal and Karol Krishna border outpost areas started around 10 pm on Friday, prompting strong and effective retaliation by the Border Security Force, the officials said.

Cross-border skirmishes continued till 5.25 am on Saturday, and there was no report of any casualty or damage on the Indian side, they added.

Meanwhile, a rusted grenade was found by a police party during patrolling in the industrial area in Poonch district which was later defused by the experts of bomb disposal squad, the officials said.

Pak Diplomat Summoned Over Jammu Encounter

Meanwhile India on Saturday summoned the Charge d’Affaires of the Pakistan High Commission and lodged a strong protest with him over attempts by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed to carry out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of local elections there.

Referring to the Nagrota incident, the ministry said the huge cache of arms, ammunition and explosive material indicate detailed planning for a “major attack to destabilise the peace and security” in the UT of J&K, in particular, to derail the ongoing democratic exercise of conduct of local district development council polls.

“Pakistan Cd’A was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs, and a strong protest was lodged at the attempted attack, which was only prevented from happening by the alertness of the Indian security forces,” the MEA said.

In a statement, it said India is “firmly and resolutely” committed to take all necessary measures to safeguard its national security in the fight against [militancy]

“It was demanded that Pakistan desists from its policy of supporting militants and militant groups operating from its territory and dismantle the militancy infrastructure operated by militant outfits to launch attacks in other countries,” it said.

Four suspected JeM militants, who were hiding in a truck, were killed by state forces in Nagrota on Thursday morning.

“A major [militant] attack was foiled by Indian security forces in Nagrota, Jammu and Kashmir on November 19. Initial reports indicate the attackers to be members of Pakistan based JeM,” the MEA said.

It said serious concerns were also conveyed at continued militant attacks by JeM against India, adding the militancy outfit has been part of several attacks in India in the past including the Pulwama attack in February 2019.

The MEA said India reiterated its long standing demand that Pakistan fulfill its international obligations and bilateral commitments to not allow any territory under its control to be used for militancy against India in any manner. 

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