Press Trust of india

 ‘BSF trooper killed in Pak firing in Samba’

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Jammu, May 15: A 28-year-old BSF trooper was killed as Pakistani troops fired at forward posts to “push infiltrators” across the International Border (IB) in the Samba sector of Jammu and Kashmir, BSF chief K K Sharma said today.

“The infiltration bid in the Manguchak border outpost area was scuttled by the alert personnel,” Sharma told reporters after attending a wreath-laying ceremony of the deceased trooper at the BSF headquarters here.

However, a search operation was on as a group of militants is suspected to have crossed the border in an “another Pakistan-backed infiltration bid” on Sunday night.

The latest “ceasefire violation” by Pakistani forces today comes barely four days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

The BSF men at the Manguchak border outpost noticed suspicious movement last night and fired illuminated bombs before firing from Light Machine Guns (LMGs) on the infiltrators who, however, managed to flee away, Sharma said.

“Suspicious movement was again noticed and the action was repeated by the alert personnel. But this time, Pakistani troops also fired and Constable Devender Singh Baghel, who was firing his LMG, was hit by a bullet, through the loophole, in the left eye. He was immediately evacuated to a hospital and later achieved martyrdom,” Sharma said.

Earlier, a senior BSF official said that Pakistani Rangers resorted to “unprovoked and indiscriminate firing” around 11.30 pm last night and the heavy firing between the two sides continued for an hour.

The incident comes barely 24 hours after BSF had claimed noticing suspicious movement of a group of five persons, believed to be militants, along the IB in Hiranagar sector of nearby Kathua district, prompting a massive search operation and sounding of a high alert in Jammu.

Sharma said the presence of a group, comprising five members, was confirmed by heat sensitive thermal imaging.

“I am sure that they will be detected and neutralised,” Sharma said.

“Two infiltration attempts were made along the international border since Sunday night. There is a possibility that a group of five (terrorists) managed to sneak into this side through a tunnel on Sunday night. We have not so far detected any tunnel but we are looking for it. The anti-tunneling exercise is going on,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Army also pressed helicopters into service during the search operation which entered the second day on May 15, the official said.

The BSF trooper’s death took the number of persons killed in over 700 incidents of Pakistani shelling along the IB and Line of Control (LoC) in the state to 33.

The deceased include 17 security personnel.

Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to arrive in Jammu and Kashmir on May 19.

There was a lull in firing along the IB over the past three months after intense border skirmishes in January and February. However, the frequent skirmishes continued along the LoC.

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