Jammu: In a fresh incident of ceasefire violation, Pakistani troops fired at eight places in Jammu and Kashmir targeting BSF posts along the Indo-Pak border in Samba and Kathua districts on late Friday night, police said.
"Pakistan Rangers started unprovoked firing at four BSF (Border Security Force) outposts on the international border in Ramgarh sector of Samba district around 9.30 p.m. after which BSF retaliated effectively at all these places," a senior police official was quoted as saying by IANS.
"Heavy firing exchanges were going on between the two sides when last reports came in," he added.
Today's ceasefire violation was the fourth by the Pakistani Rangers in as many days and the eighth in the last nine days.
According to reports, civilians were also targeted in the latest round of firing by Pakistani troops which started at 9:30 pm today. However, The Border Security Force (BSF) retaliated heavily to firing from the Pakistani side.
“Unprovoked firing by Pakistan along the International Border in Jammu region tonight,” the Union Home Ministry said in a statement, PTI reported.
With the violations continuing unabated, Home Minister Rajnath Singh ordered the Border Security Force(BSF) to respond with "appropriate" action. Singh also confirmed that the firing was unprovoked.
There was firing on 4 Border Out Posts (BoPs) in Samba sector including at Regal, Challiyari, Suchetgarh and also on 3 to 4 such posts upto Bansantar forward belt in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district, a senior Police officer told, PTI reported.
As per reports, the firing and mortar shelling by Pakistani Rangers has come from Razab Sheed, Asif Sheed, Chak Bhura, New Pak and Dhandhar Posts.
Police used speakers and announced that people should stay indoors and not to venture outside while they were also told to take shelter in bunkers.
Meanwhile as per sources, five Pakistani Rangers have been killed in retaliatory firing by BSF along the International Border in Samba & Hiranagar sectors here since yesterday.
Earlier in the day, India had said that it will lodge a strong protest with Pakistan over the Islamic Republic's ceasefire violation at the International Border at Jammu and Kashmir.
Rajniath Singh had said that there is no doubt that Pakistan was trying to push militants into J&K and giving cover to such attempts by continuous firing along the border.
"No doubt about that," Rajnath Singh told reporters in Delhi when asked whether the repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan were to cover infiltration attempts by militants.
The Home Minister also said Pakistan has been firing towards Indian side along the IB in Jammu region and the BSF was giving a befitting reply. "BSF jawans are giving a befitting reply," he added.
Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had also condemned the incident of breach in ceasefire by Pakistani forces.
Lashing out at Pakistan over the ceasefire violations, Shiv Sena also said that such incidents will not be taken lightly under India's new defence policy.
"For past many years Pakistan has been behind the killing of Indian soldiers on the border. 562 ceasefire violations have taken place by Pakistan in 2014 alone. But this time India responded aggressively which is why Pakistan was forced to lodge protests," Shiv Sena, which is a constituent of ruling NDA at the Centre, said.
It was referring to Pakistan summoning Indian Deputy High Commissioner to lodge protest over killing of their Rangers.
On Wednesday, a BSF trooper was killed and another injured in Pakistan firing in the same area. Two Pakistan troopers were also killed in retaliatory firing by the BSF.
Pakistani troops had on Sunday violated the ceasefire twice along the border in Arnia forward belt of Jammu and Hiranagar belt of Kathua district.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz today wrote to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, protesting the killing of soldiers in BSF firing and seeking an immediate probe into the incident.
In the letter handed over to Indian High Commissioner TCA Raghavan by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Aziz demanded an immediate probe into the incident and bringing the perpetrators to account.
On December 31 morning, Pakistan rangers had targeted a BSF patrol party by resorting to firing along the International Border in Samba district.
In the heavy firing, one BSF jawan was killed. In strong retaliation by BSF troops, four Pakistani rangers were killed.
Later, The Home Minister had asked BSF to provide a "suitable and appropriate reply" for any unprovoked firing across the Indo-Pak border.
On December 25, Pakistani Rangers indulged in unprovoked small arms firing in forward areas in Pansar border out post (BoP) belt of Hiranagar sub-sector in Kathua district.
A day earlier, on December 24, Pakistani troops had fired mortar shells and small arms targeting the same areas.
As per a government report, fourteen civilians and five security personnel were killed in 555 ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces this year in Jammu and Kashmir.
The largest number of 405 violations took place along the international border that is under the operational control of the Border Security Force (BSF), Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier told Parliament.
(With Agency inputs)