2936 cases of ceasefire violations recorded in 2018, highest in 15 years
Pak summons senior Indian diplomat over 'ceasefire violations'
Jammu/Islamabad, Jan 07: Jammu and Kashmir recorded 2,936 instances of “ceasefire violations by Pakistan” in 2018 -- the highest in the past 15 years with an average of eight cases daily -- in which 61 people were killed and over 250 injured, officials said Monday.
Shelling and firing by Pakistani troops was "very heavy" in 2018, virtually making the 2003 India-Pakistan border truce "redundant", they said.
"Pakistani troops repeatedly targeted forwards posts and villages along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) to create a fear psychosis among the people," a senior police officer said.
"Pakistani forces have violated the ceasefire 2,936 times in 2018, in which 61 people were killed and 250 injured," a senior Army official told PTI.
The violations continued despite Pakistani troops vowing to maintain peace on the border during more than 20 brigade commander-level and flag meetings with the Indian forces. "Pakistan vows to maintain peace and strengthen border relations, but they do not keep their promises," the Army official said.
The number of “ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops” in 2018 were over three times that of 2017, when 971 cases were reported. In 2017, 31 people -- 12 civilians and 19 security forces personnel -- were killed and 151 suffered injuries.
People living near the border in Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Rajouri and Poonch districts were severely hit by firing and shelling by Pakistani troops. Fear gripped the border populace due to frequent shelling, which prompted thousands of people to migrate to safer places.
The officials said that due to shelling and firing incidents, people had to migrate to safer places three times last year, which affected education and farm activities.
To protect border residents in view of increasing ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir, the central government sanctioned Rs 415 crore for the construction of over 14,400 underground bunkers along the LoC and the IB and made efforts to speed up the work last year.
Over 300 bunkers have been constructed under the programme in Rajouri, Poonch, Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts and tenders have been floated for more such bunkers, the officials said, adding that over 4,000 bunkers would be constructed this year.
Giving details of cases of ceasefire violations in the past decade, the officials said that in 2015, 405 cases of ceasefire violations were reported and 583 such instances were recorded in 2014.
There had been a gradual increase in ceasefire violations by Pakistan between 2009 and 2013. The corresponding figures for 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 were 347, 114, 62, 44, and 28.
In the previous three years, the numbers of such violations were 77 in 2008, 21 in 2007 and three in 2006, according to official data.
For three years - 2004, 2005 and 2006 - there was not a single such violation on the border.
The Indian government led by the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee entered into a border ceasefire agreement with Pakistan along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir on November 26, 2003.
India shares a 3,323-km-long border with Pakistan, of which 221 km of the IB and 740 km of the LoC fall in Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Monday summoned India's Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh and condemned the alleged "unprovoked ceasefire violations" by Indian troops across the Line of Control which resulted in the death of a civilian.
Director General (South Asia and SAARC) Mohammad Faisal, who is also the Foreign Ministry spokesman, summoned Singh and "condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian forces along the Line of Control," the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement.
The firing in the Bagsar Sector along the LoC resulted in the death of a civilian and injured a woman, it said.
Faisal said that the Indian forces along the LoC and the Working boundary are "continuously targeting civilian populated areas with heavy weapons."
"This unprecedented escalation in ceasefire violations by India is continuing from the year 2017 when the Indian forces committed 1970 ceasefire violation," it alleged.
"The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws. The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation," the statement said.
Faisal urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 Ceasefire arrangement; investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations; instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit and maintain peace on the LoC and the Working Boundary.
The Pakistan Army confirmed the killing of a civilian and said the Indian forces resorted to “unprovoked firing targeting the civilian population”.
It said Pakistan Army troops responded effectively to those posts targeting civil population.
He urged that the Indian side should permit UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.
India maintains that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the LoC.