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Pakistan continues to violate ceasefire, opens fire in J&K's Akhnoor, Rajouri sectors

Oct 06, 2014 10:06 PM IST India India
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Srinagar: In its third ceasefire violation along the Line of Control (LoC) in less than 24 hours, Pakistani troops fired at Indian posts in Jammu's Akhnoor and Rajouri sectors, continuing their firing at Jammu's Arnia sector and Poonch's Bhimber Gali and Shahpur sectors.

Arnia is where the Pakistan Rangers have been firing since Sunday night, killing five civilians and injuring 34 by Monday morning.

India says it has retaliated effectively, killing many on the other side.

"There are more casualties on the Pakistani side, according to their own media reports," Director General of the Border Security Force, DK Pathak said. "Since the new government took charge, we are at liberty to respond as the situation demands," he told CNN-IBN.

In New Delhi, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley deplored the ceasefire violations from across the border and said the Indian armed forces were "fully ready" and are responding to each of these provocations from across the border.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, "Pakistan should stop ceasefire violations now and understand the reality that times have changed in India."

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who flew to Jammu immediately after his Eid prayers in Srinagar, strongly condemned the shelling on civilians, saying targeting them exposed the frustration of the Pakistani government after its failure to gain international attention on the Kashmir issue.

"They (the Pakistani leadership) have nothing else to speak, but only Kashmir. Whenever they go abroad, they try to raise only Kashmir issue, but every time they miserably fail to get international attention. The cross-border shelling is an indication of their frustration," he told reporters after meeting civilians injured in the shelling at the Government Medical College Hospital in Srinagar.

Omar attended cremation of those killed in Arnia and also visited the village which came under heavy Pakistani shelling in the wee hours on Monday.

The Chief Minister said he will brief Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation in the wake of frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan.

There were some reports of people moving out of the affected areas, fearing fresh attacks.

The Pakistani troops used small, automatic weapons and mortar bombs to target the border hamlets and BoPs. 29 of the injured have been shifted to GMC hospital in Jammu. Three others were brought dead, Chief Medical officer of the hospital Dr Ritesh Shan said.

"We have always been the sitting ducks on fire. The Pakistani side always attack the civilians in the area and we become the worst sufferers," said 70-year-old Bira Devi.
A large number of houses were damaged and livestock perished in the firing and shelling, said Devender Singh, who was leading a team that shifted the injured people to hospital during the heavy shelling.

"People living in critical zones along the border will be evacuated," he said.

The BSF spokesman said that the force did not suffer any casualty.

Congress and BJP said the ceasefire violations by Pakistan were a "serious" issue and it should desist from such activities.

"Whatever Pakistan is doing is certainly a serious matter. And we want to tell Pakistan that indulging in such activities is not good for that country," BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Condemning Pakistan's actions, former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said it is despicable that such incidents have occurred on Eid. "There cannot be anything worse than this," the Congress leader said. Party leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, asked why Modi government was "keeping silent".

"It's most unfortunate that firing is going on from Pakistan side in Jammu and Kashmir and at this juncture any firing from across the border is very very critical. It's most unfortunate that the Government is also keeping silent," he said.

There have been a dozen ceasefire violations along Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir during the last six days.

On October 4, Pakistani troops resorted to firing and mortar shelling along LoC in Poonch district, drawing retaliation from Army.

On October 3, Pakistani troops and rangers violated ceasefire in Gulmarg sector of Kashmir Valley and in Poonch in which a girl was killed and six persons injured.

On October 1 and 2, Pakistani troops violated ceasefire two times along LoC in Poonch district resulting in injuries to six people, including three women.

(With additional information from PTI)

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