Jammu/New Delhi/Kolkata, Aug 24 IANS | 3 months ago

Pakistani forces continued to target BSF posts and villages near the international border in Jammu and Kashmir's Jammu district overnight but there were no more casualties and firing stopped Sunday even as India asserted it responded adequately to the repeated provocation.

Stressing that the Narendra Modi government had the courage to take strong decisions, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said India has responded adequately to Pakistan's provocation of repeatedly violating the ceasefire.

"There has been a series of provocations for the last few days. Our armed forces are there at the LoC (Line of Control) and the BSF is there at the international border, protecting both our territory and people," Jaitley said in West Bengal's Murshidabad district.

"Whatever response is required to these provocations by Pakistan is being adequately taken by them," he said.

On Saturday, two people were killed and seven others injured in heavy firing by Pakistani forces on Border Security Force (BSF) posts on the international border in Jammu district.

In Jammu, a senior police officer told IANS that the Pakistan Rangers used long range weapons to target almost all the border outposts in R.S. Pura and Arnia in addition to villages close to the border in these areas.

"Pakistani firing started at 10 p.m. last (Saturday) night and continued intermittently during the night. They fired at 12 BSF outposts in R.S.Pura and 10 in Arnia sectors," he added.

"Since Pakistan Rangers are using long range weapons, 28 villages in these areas are directly in the line of Pakistan fire," he said, adding BSF troopers were effectively retaliating.

Jammu Divisional Commissioner Shantmanu said the administration is prepared to accommodate, at safer places, all possible migrants from border villages in these areas.

"We are ready to meet any eventuality. Our contingency plans are in place to provide all possible relief to people who might move out of their villages if tensions escalate," he said.

Although the state government says only 1,000 villagers have so far moved out to safer accommodations, eye-witnesses in these areas say over 3,000 villagers have taken shelter at safe places out of villages in R.S. Pura and Arnia areas.

Jaitley, who later addressed a party rally in Kolkata, asserted the Modi government was capable of taking strong decisions.

"When Pakistan requested that our foreign secretaries be sent for talks, we obliged. But when Pakistan showed its true face, we made it clear that we will continue following our stand that talks and terrorism cannot go together," he said.

The BSF, meanwhile, said it has been ordered to give befitting reply to Pakistan's ceasefire violations.

"The BSF is effectively and strongly responding to the firing and will continue to do so. Our volume and intensity of target fire is more effective than theirs (Pakistan)," its Director General D.K. Pathak said at a press conference in Delhi.

In Jammu, BSF Inspector General (Frontier) Rakesh Kumar told media that they were "under clear orders to give befitting reply to Pakistan ceasefire violations to put an end to these".

"Since July 16, Pakistani forces have violated the ceasefire 30 times. In R.S. Pura sector alone, there have been 25 ceasefire violations by Pakistan Rangers during this period," he said, adding that the Pakistan Army was supporting the ceasefire violations on the international border.

"Pakistan Army wants to get Pakistan media coverage in order to shift the focus from the internal crisis in their country this time," he claimed.

The IG said these violations have assumed serious proportion as they threaten the daily life of the people living close to the international border and also result in damage to the crops in the fields on the Indian side.

Pathak, meanwhile, said the Pakistani media reported that five people have been killed and 16 others injured on their side, "while on our side, two people were killed and seven others have been injured".

A BSF official, on condition of anonymity, told IANS that two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants have been killed in the retaliatory fire by the BSF in R.S. Pura.

Pathak also said that their repeated requests to hold flag meeting with Pakistan Rangers have not been responded to till now.

"We have sent a number of 'protest notes' to the Pakistan Rangers over these firings. The last one was sent last (Saturday) night," Pathak said.

(Posted on 24-08-2014)

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