Pak firing seeks to push terrorists into Kashmir



Jammu: The sudden spurt in firing by Pakistani border guards along the Jammu and Kashmir border is aimed at pushing militants as well as narcotics smugglers into India, say experts.

And the firing is concentrated on the international border -- as opposed to the Line of Control (LoC) -- as it is plain in nature and where infiltration is easier during rainy season.

"The international border becomes porous during rains due to breaches triggered by floods in rivers and water channels," an expert said. Moreover, wild vegetation provides natural camouflage to infiltrators."

India has erected a three-tier barbed wire fence to prevent infiltration of terrorists and smugglers from Pakistan. This fence too gets damaged due to heavy rains or snow in winters.

The international border is about 200 km long and the LoC covers 720 km.

Pakistan has been almost continuously firing along the international frontier since Aug 5 in which one Border Security Force (BSF) trooper and an intruder have been killed.

The firing has caused panic in villages close to the border.

Experts and military officials say the firing was stepped up after India discovered a 500 metre long underground tunnel originating in Pakistan and leading into India July 28.

The experts said that Pakistan was adopting the "fire and move method" tactic.

"They are firing at our positions to keep Indian troopers engaged so that militants and smugglers can sneak in unnoticed," an official said.

The experts feel that heightened vigil of the Indian Army with the help of sophisticated gadgets along the mountainous LoC has prompted Pakistan to shift focus on the international border.

The international border is guarded by the Border Security Force (BSF).

An Army official said: "We have had almost no infiltration from LOC in Jammu region (south of Pir Panjal mountain range) this year."

After a 2003 ceasefire, life in border areas had returned to normalcy with villagers freely engaging in cattle rearing and farming. Schools also functioned normally.

Before that, constant firing hit hard villagers. Farming and cattle rearing was near impossible, and schools were shut.

Once again, farmers are scared of going to the fields hugging the border.

Govind Ram of Arnia village has not tended his field for the last two days as he got trapped in Pakistani firing.

"We were working in our fields when suddenly Pakistanis started firing. Six of us lay flat on the ground behind a tree for five hours and returned home late in the evening."

About 20 villages along the international border have been affected now due to renewed firing between the BSF and Pakistan Rangers.

Many houses in Indian villages are again getting hit by Pakistani bullets.

Ram Prakash of Abdullian village remembers the earlier days.

"Before the ceasefire our life was like that of animals," moaned Ram Prakash of Abdullian village. "We had to frequently migrate to safer areas in the interior for shelter.

"It (firing) would be from both the sides claiming not only human lives but our cattle too besides damaging our properties."

He fears that their lives "will become miserable again" if "such firing keeps happening".

IANS