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India claims Pakistani forces fired rockets | Pak denies

India claims Pakistani forces fired rockets | <a href='http://ibnlive.in.com/news/pak-denies-firing-rockets-into-indian-territory/101211-2.html'>Pak denies</a>

The BSF retaliated by firing from machine guns towards Pakistan.

Amritsar: Three rockets fired in quick succession from Pakistan exploded near a village in India's Amritsar district, triggering retaliatory gunfire by Indian border guards, officials said on Saturday as angry villagers from the region held protests.

The 107 MM rockets landed in the fields of Pul Kanjari area in Punjab with a deafening roar, police officials and residents said. No one was injured in the attack near the only India-Pakistan land border checkpost at Attari.

Pakistani authorities on Saturday denied any rockets were fired from their territory.

But the Border Security Force (BSF) insisted that the firing did take place and displayed to journalists fragments of the rockets that fell in a civilian area around midnight on Friday, creating a scare.

The BSF also said it would retaliate "against any provocation".

"The 107 MM rockets are used by armies across the world. Some terrorists also use them. In July too the same rockets were fired in the area. We are investigating the matter," BSF's Punjab Frontier Deputy Inspector General Jagir Singh said.

He said the BSF quickly held a meeting with the Pakistan Rangers.

"Though the Rangers have denied that rockets were fired from Pakistan, we have given them time to investigate. They have said that they will investigate. We will be meeting them (Rangers) again," Jagir Singh said.

After the rocket attack, BSF troopers fired from machine guns into Pakistan. Officials said seven to eight machine gun bursts were fired from Indian territory.

Villages in the area where the incident took place were tense Saturday even after the BSF increased patrolling.

Over 150 villagers staged a protest against the shelling from Pakistan and demanded stern action against the culprits.

"Villagers are quite upset with the shelling from Pakistan in their villages. We have talked to them and given them assurance that we will take this case to a logical end with the concerned Pakistan officials," Jagir Singh said.

"They calmed down and gradually things have become quite normal. The retreat ceremony at Attari-Wagah border was also held as usual without any interruption," he added.

India has protested to Pakistan over the rocket attack. Three rockets were similarly fired in early July.

India has erected an electrified barbed wire fence on its side of the 553-km India-Pakistan border in Punjab.

The rockets were fired just hours after the BSF stationed the first batch of women troopers along the international border.

"The women troops will do their duties normally. This incident will have no effect on their work. There is no move to withdraw them from the border," the officer said.

A total of 118 women troopers were deployed at Border Outposts along the Punjab border on Friday.

The women will be used for non-combat duties including frisking women and villagers farming near the fence in Indian territory.

first published:September 12, 2009, 09:05 IST