Press Trust of india

BSF lodges strong protest with Pakistani counterpart over firing along IB in Jammu

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Jammu: The Border Security Force (BSF) on Saturday lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan Rangers over the recent “unprovoked” firing and mortar shelling on forward posts and villages along the International Border here, officials said.

The cross-border shelling by Pakistan Rangers, the first major ceasefire violation since 2021, started around 8 pm Thursday in the Arnia area of R S Pura sector and lasted around seven hours, leaving a BSF jawan and a woman injured.

“A wing commander-commandant level flag meeting was held between BSF and Pakistan Rangers at BOP (Border Outpost) Octroi. BSF delegation leader lodged a strong protest to Pakistan Rangers for unprovoked firing in the Arnia area in the night intervening October 26-27,” the BSF said in a statement here Saturday evening.

The statement said the meeting ended in a cordial atmosphere to maintain peace and tranquility along the International Border.

Earlier, officials said the hour-long meeting was attended by seven members each of the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers.

This was the second flag meeting between the two sides in 10 days after two BSF personnel were injured when their post in Arnia came under fire from across the border on October 17.

The incident in this sector was the first violation of the February 25, 2021 renewed ceasefire along the Jammu and Kashmir borders between India and Pakistan.

“Besides the two ceasefire violations, a group of people escorted by Pakistan Rangers also came close to the International Border on October 21 following which BSF troops fired a couple of warning shots to drive them away,” officials said.

The “back-to-back ceasefire violations by Pakistan without any provocation” have caused panic among the border residents who had to flee their homes amid intense shelling on Thursday night. The BSF has retaliated to the Pakistani shelling in a “befitting manner”.

Meanwhile, Jammu Divisional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar, along with Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Jammu Zone Anand Jain, on Saturday visited border villages hit by Pakistani shelling and assessed losses caused to property.

Accompanied by a team of police and civil officers, including Jammu Deputy Commissioner Sachin Kumar Vaishya and Senior Superintendent of Police Vinod Kumar, the divisional commissioner and the IGP interacted with affected families at Bhulla Chak and Treva and assessed the losses caused by the shelling.

The divisional commissioner instructed the deputy commissioner to provide relief to the victims after a thorough assessment of the losses, an official spokesman said.

He said the visiting officers interacted with Panchayati Raj Institution members and border residents and enquired about the developmental requirements and other issues faced by the border people.

The people highlighted several issues including requirement of additional bunkers, early completion of ongoing development works, construction of bridges and check on encroachment of water bodies and other related issues, the spokesman said.

After a patient hearing, he said, the divisional commissioner instructed the deputy commissioner to personally follow up on the issues raised by the border people and resolve them in a time-bound manner.

The divisional commissioner assured the local residents that the government was committed to provide every possible support to them, the spokesman said.

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