Fresh firing by Pak troops on the eve of flag meeting
Jammu/New Delhi: Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire yet again firing at Indian posts in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir Sunday evening even as the two sides prepared for a flag meeting of top commanders tomorrow to defuse tension along the Line of Control (LoC).
The fresh firing by Pakistan troops on Indian posts in Nangitikri forward area along LoC in Poonch district around 1630 hours today, came after heavy overnight firing in Krishnagati also in Poonch, an Army officer said.
The attack took place hours after Pakistan agreed for a Brigade Commander-level flag meeting, sought by India, along the LoC in Poonch to discuss the recent intrusion and brutal killing of jawans besides continued ceasefire violations by its soldiers that have flared up tension.
At the flag meeting, the Indian side is expected to strongly protest the Pakistani intrusion and the beheading of a soldier and demand the return of the severed head believed to have been carried by Pakistani Army regulars as a trophy after the killing of two soldiers on January eight.
"Brigade Commanders` flag meeting is being held tomorrow at Chakan-Da-Bagh LoC point in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir at noon," Public Relation Officer (PRO), Defence, Col RK Palta told a news agency.
Pakistani posts opposite Nangitikri targeted the posts and the Indian troops retaliated, he said.
The exchange continued for a brief period before coming to a halt, he said, adding there was no loss of life or injury to anyone on the Indian side.
There was firing on five Indian posts --Kranti, Kripan, Gordha, Chajjaman and Dogra from Pakistan posts- Daku, Chooha, Roza and Battal. Mortars were fired intermittently from Pakistan side.
The ceasefire violation was the fourth by Pakistan troops along Poonch sector after the killing of two jawans.
On the overnight firing, Palta said movement of six to seven persons was detected close to LoC opposite Krishnagati sub-sector in Poonch sector around 2145 hours yesterday.
After 30 minutes, the group of suspected infiltrators disappeared, Palta said.
It is believed that either a group of militants or Border Action Team (BAT) could have been undertaking movement close to LoC opposite Krishnagati sub-sector in Poonch.
Pakistani troops had also violated the ceasefire by firing mortars shells and from small arms on Indian posts along LoC in Krishnagati sector of Poonch district from 5 PM to 9.30 PM on Thursday.
Indian troops had retaliated resulting in the exchange of fire. There was no casuality or injury to anyone in the Pak firing.
"The border with Pakistan is tense but the situation is under control along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. The Army is maintaining utmost vigilance along the border with Pakistan," the spokesman said.
Pakistan agreed for the flag meeting in a communication through a hotline in the sector, he said, adding, "We had sought the flag meeting of the brigade commanders of the two sides."
The Indian Army had sent a hotline message to the Pakistan Army on January 11 and asked for a flag meeting to discuss the issues of brutal killing of two jawans by Pakistani troops, reportedly belonging to 29 Baloch Regiment, and increasing incidents of firing and ceasefire violations in the Poonch sector.
Pakistan`s High Commissioner Salman Bashir has already been summoned in Delhi by Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai who lodged a strong protest over the "highly provocative" Pakistani Army action in which the two soldiers were killed and their bodies subjected to "barbaric and inhuman mutilation".
Confidence Building Measures (CMBs) of cross-LoC trade and travel are also expected to come up for discussion during the flag meeting.
Pakistan has suspended cross-LoC trade and travel at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point in Poonch sector since Thursday and Friday respectively.
Tomorrow`s Brigade Commander-level flag meeting is the second one in the last six months between the two sides.
The last one was held at Chakan-Da-Bagh LoC point on June 23 following the killing of two Indian soldiers and injuries to four other jawans in ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops. Cross-LoC trade and travel via Chakan-Da-Bagh was also suspended.
Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed 71 incidents of cross- border firing and ceasefire violations along the Indo-Pak border in which seven persons, including four security personnel were killed and 15 others were injured last year.
There were 51 cases of cross-border firing and ceasefire violations in 2011 as compared to 44 cases registered in 2010 and 28 in 2009.
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