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Heaviest cross-border firing since 1971 war

Heaviest cross-border firing since 1971 war
Highlights

The continuous firing from Pakistan from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir over the last fortnight is \"the heaviest cross-border firing I\'ve seen since the 1971 war,\" said DK Pathak, the chief of the Border Security Force.

  • DGMOs talk; India lodges protest with Pak over violations
  • 'Achche Din?' ask families of jawans killed in Kashmir
  • UN asks India-Pak to resolve issues through dialogue


RS Pura sector: The continuous firing from Pakistan from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir over the last fortnight is "the heaviest cross-border firing I've seen since the 1971 war," said DK Pathak, the chief of the Border Security Force. "It is unprecedented to target civilian areas to this extent," he stressed.
BSF DG DK Pathak interacts with a boy injured in border shelling at a hospital; (right) Villagers take shelter in an Army bunker fearing firing in Jammu on Tuesday
As tension along the Line of Control or de-facto border has spiraled, two civilians have been killed, at least 15 injured, and nearly 3000 people forced to move from their villages along the border in RS Pura sector to bunkers.

Three army men, two policemen, and two members of the Border Security force have been killed.

When asked what instructions have been given by the government in dealing with violations of the ceasefire by Pakistan, Pathak of the Border Security Force (BSF) said, "we have been told very clearly to respond appropriately."

India lodged a protest with Pakistan over increased border ceasefire violations as top military officials of the two countries held telephonic talks and agreed to hold flag meetings to defuse the situation.

The DGMO (Director General Military Operations) talks were held around 1200 hours for about 10 minutes during which "all relevant issues" were raised, Army officials said here. During the talks, the Indian side is understood to have raised the issue of frequent ceasefire violations and lodged protest over the issue, Army sources said here.

There have been 95 ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control and it has also breached the ceasefire pact 25 times on the International Border. "The two sides have agreed to hold flag meetings at field levels by both Army and BSF to defuse the situation," the Army officials said.

The DGMOs -- Lt Gen PR Kumar from India and Major General Amir Riaz from Pakistan -- discussed the border situation during their talk on hotline which takes place every Tuesday. The DGMOs hold talks every week during which they discuss issues related to the Line of Control and other areas. Meanwhile, two young Army jawans from Bulandshahr district in Uttar Pradesh, killed over the weekend in fierce gun-battles with militants in Kashmir, were cremated in their villages.

The families of both Neeraj Raghav and Rahul Kumar expressed not just a sense of tragic loss, but also betrayal.

Brijpal Singh, a relative of Grenadier Rahul Kumar of the 23 Grenadiers Battalion, said after the funeral, "They said 'achchey din' (good days) will come. Is this how we will see our good days? Our boy has died."

He said no minister or government official had visited the family of the martyr, adding bitterly, "They just make false promises and do everything for votes." The family of Neeraj Raghav sat for hours with his body in a coffin draped in the Tricolur, refusing to cremate him till a central minister or the chief minister of UP visited them. UN chief Ban Ki-moon has asked India and Pakistan to resolve their issues peacefully through dialogue, against the backdrop of cancellation of foreign-secretary level talks between the two nations and continued ceasefire violations by Pakistan along border posts.

SC reprimands Army on arms running officers

New Delhi: The Supreme Court berated the Army for not taking tough action against its officers involved in illegally selling weapons seven years ago and asked: "What if the ammunition falls into the hands of terrorists?"

The court had asked the army to set up an inquiry into allegations that 73 officers were involved in selling arms and ammunition illegally to dealers in Rajasthan's border districts. After an investigation, the army court-martialed 30 officers and the punishment varied from loss of promotion to "severe" reprimand.

"You are supposed to be a disciplined force. But you indulge in sale of weapons. That too high-ranking officials. And the punishment is just severe displeasure and fine of 500 rupees. It shocks our conscience," the court said in sharp words. "Why don't you redo the enquiry? This might be just tip of iceberg," judges added.

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