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Hafiz Saeed at LoC to help infiltration: Sushilkumar Shinde

IANS | Last Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 18:37

Jammu: Intelligence reports suggest that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed could be visiting areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir to facilitate cross-border infiltration, said union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Tuesday as Pakistan continued to fire at Indian posts.

Pakistan opened fire at Indian posts in Jammu and Kashmir`s Poonch district on a day when Shinde was visiting the International Border in the region.

Shinde told reporters in Samba town on the sidelines of a Border Security Force (BSF) Sainik Sammelan: "It is true that information suggests Hafiz Saeed could be visiting areas of LoC to abet infiltration."

Shinde added: "We can`t say that we are always on the receiving side."

"We have to compromise sometimes, but if they (Pakistan) take an uncompromising position, we will deal with them accordingly."

He said India has always maintained that Kashmir is an integral part of the country.

"No third party thing can work. Anything that has to happen has to happen bilaterally," he said.

The home minister said the matter has been taken up in flag meetings. "I have surveyed areas along the border today, even those from where infiltration took place recently."

"Yes, there is more infiltration as compared to past times. But, the forces are ready to face any situation," he asserted.

Shinde added: "We can`t be tougher by only saying so. We are taking action to that effect."

On providing security to residents of border areas, the home minister said shelters have to be created by the state government for the civilians when they feel threatened and frightened.

Asked about the reasons for the recent spurt in border firing by Pakistan, he said: "We don`t know what has led to the spurt in ceasefire violations, but we are discussing the matter and will find out."

Shinde said a cordial atmosphere was essential for bilateral talks between India and Pakistan.

"Let us see what happens," he added.

Earlier, Shinde made an aerial survey of the International Border in Samba, Akhnoor, Ranbir Singh Pura (RS Pura) and Hira Nagar sectors.

He took a security meeting with top BSF field commanders at the Samba headquarters of the paramilitary force.

Shinde, accompanied by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and other senior officials, also visited the Hira Nagar police station where four policemen and two civilians were killed by three terrorists Sep 26 this year.

The terrorists had later stormed an army camp in Samba where they killed three soldiers and a Lt. colonel, before being gunned down by army commandos.

On a day when Shinde was in the region, Pakistan again violated the ceasefire.

Defence spokesman Col. RK Palta told IANS: "Pakistan Army has violated the ceasefire in Hamirpur area of Bhimber Gali today (Tuesday) morning.

"They have used mortars, automatics and small arms to target our positions. Our troops have effectively retaliated Pakistan firing using equal calibre weapons," the spokesman said.

"The firing started 10.35 am today (Tuesday) and firing exchanges continued in the area till 11.15 am," he added.

The ceasefire violation came barely hours after an earlier firing exchange when Pakistani troops indulged in heavy shelling of Indian positions in RS Pura sector of the international border in Jammu district late Monday night.

A senior para military Border Security Force (BSF) officer said Pakistani troops used 82 mm mortars and other heavy weaponry to target positions in Nikkowal and Abdullian areas of RS Pura sector.

"The firing started at 9.45 pm Monday. We have retaliated strongly to Pakistan shelling," the official said.

Since the beginning of this year, Pakistani troops have been frequently violating the bilateral ceasefire which was signed by India and Pakistan in November 2003.

A modicum of normalcy had returned into the lives of thousands of people living close to the Line of Control (LoC) and the international border in Jammu and Kashmir after the ceasefire agreement.

But since the beginning of this year, because of repeated Pakistan ceasefire violations, many families living in border villages have been forced to flee to safer places.

First Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 18:37

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