As the entire Jammu belt, including the International Border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC), witnesses worst ceasefire violations by Pakistan in over a year, the Border Security Force (BSF) said it has been able to kill 15 Pakistan Rangers since October 21 when a fresh flash point erupted after a sniper attack on a BSF Jawan.
Two Pakistani Frontier Force soldiers and 13 Rangers were killed, suggested an initial assessment by the BSF based on calls monitored by Indian agencies. Sources say agencies have intercepted calls from hospitals asking for help to treat the injured.
"There are ceasefire violations repeatedly, we are giving a befitting reply. As far as our people have seen, what we have assessed is at least 15 rangers have been killed," said BSF Additional Director General Arun Kumar.
Speaking to The Hindu, Deputy Inspector General, BSF, Dharmendra Pareek, said, "There are inputs of at least 15 Pakistan Rangers being killed in retaliatory fire on the International Border. We have been witnessing heavy firing and shelling since October 21 in large parts of the IB."
Mr. Pareekh said the entire length of the 192-km IB, mainly in plains of Jammu, remained affected due to the ceasefire violations.
“Compared to previous ceasefire violations, before October 2015, the volume of fire from Pakistan has been heavy and relentless in first three days since October 21,” he said.
The BSF does not rule out joint action of the Pakistan Army’s Border Action Team, Rangers and militants. “The rockets aimed at the BSF last week in fact were from terrorists. It seems the Pakistan Rangers and the Border Action Teams provide cover to terrorists,” he said.
Three BSF jawans, manning border outposts, have also been killed in the same period.
The BSF has said that on Thursday night and till 5 a.m. of Friday, there was fresh firing from Pakistan in Hiranagar and Samba, in which 25 BSF outposts were attacked. “There has been respite since the morning,” said Mr. Pareekh.
However, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) rejected BSF’s assertion. “Indian claims of killing any Pakistani soldier at the Working Boundary is absolutely baseless and untrue,” the ISPR said in a statement.
“India’s claim is part of their propaganda campaign aimed to hide their losses at the Working Boundary and also divert world attention from the Kashmir issue,” it said.
Firing mortar shells and using automatic weapons, Pakistani troops targeted civilian areas and forward security posts along the International Border and Line of Control in Jammu, Kathua, Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir. In retaliatory firing, 15 Pakistani Rangers have been killed so far, the BSF had said.Two civilians killed
A woman, identified as Ismba Bi, a resident of Gohlad in Mendhar Sector in the Pir Panchal Valley, died after she was hit by splinters of a mortar shell.
According to Jammu Deputy Commissioner Simrandeep Singh one civilian died in Khour belt of Pallanwala sector. Another civilian was injured In R.S. Pura sector, he added.
Three civilians were injured in Hiranagar Sector. Among the victims are two girls. They were hit by splinters in Lallai Chak village.