Srinagar: A Border Security Force (BSF) jawan was killed accidentally while retaliating to ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops in Machael sector along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir‘s Kupwara district on Friday evening, the officials said on Saturday.
Earlier, an Army jawan Mandeep Singh and an infiltrating militant were killed in a fire fight in this sector. The others in the infiltrating group of militants mutilated the body of the slain soldier, the Army said and vowed revenge. It alleged that the attack took place under cover fire provided by Pakistan troops.
The BSF said on Saturday that its constable Nitin Subhash while returning fire along the de facto border suffered grievous injuries when an explosion inside the chamber of the long range weapon recoiled. BSF’s Inspector General (Kashmir range), Vikash Chandra, confirmed it saying, “Sepoy Nitin Subhash was injured due to recoil and was admitted to a medical facility where he succumbed late last (Friday) night.”
28-year-old Subhash, a resident of Sangli in Maharashtra, had joined BSF in 2008 and is survived by his wife and two sons aged four and two years, a statement issued by the BSF here said. Earlier during the past over one week three BSF jawans were killed in the Pakistani firing and shelling along the International Border (IB) with Pakistan in Jammu region.
Four Army jawans too have died in the active hostilities between the facing armies which followed the surgical strikes conducted across the LoC by the Indian Army in the last week of September. Three civilians have also been killed in the Pakistani firing during past one week.
The BSF had on Friday said that it killed as many as 13 Pakistani Rangers and two soldiers of the neighbouring country’s Frontier Force in retaliatory fire since October 21. The Pakistani authorities dismissed the claim and termed it as part of India’s “propaganda campaign aimed at hiding its losses at the border and to divert the world’s attention from ongoing Kashmir unrest”.
The Army on Saturday in a solemn wreath laying ceremony at Srinagar’s Badami Bagh Cantonment paid homage to Sepoy Mandeep Singh who laid down his life while fighting infiltrating militants in Macheal sector on Friday evening. The Chinar Corps Commander, Lt. Gen. Satish Dua and all ranks attended the ceremony and “paid their tributes to the national hero on behalf of a proud nation”.
Singh, the 26-year-old son of a truck driver from Kurukshetra (Haryana) had joined the Army in 2009 “is proudly remembered by his comrades in the unit that also includes his own maternal brother, as a highly professional soldier and a true patriot,” a statement issued by the Army here said.
It added that he is survived by his young wife, serving in Haryana police, who he had married only a couple of years back in 2014. Singh’s mortal remains were later flown to his native place in where the last rites will be held with full military honours, the Army said.
The border skirmishes continued on Saturday. The BSF said that the Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) resorted to unprovoked small arms and mortar fire along the IB in Ranbir Singh Pura of Jammu district and at a couple of locations in neighbouring Kathua.
Amid armed escalation, Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, on Saturday said the Army and the BSF are giving "befitting reply" to ceasefire violations from across the LoC and the IB. He assured India will not bow down before anyone.
“I want to assure the nation that the security forces are giving befitting reply to the firing from Pakistan. We will not bow down before anyone," he told reporters in New Delhi. He added that if the countrymen were celebrating Diwali, it was because of the security personnel guarding the borders and that the people must have faith in security forces “who are foiling the evil designs of enemies”.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani authorities have alleged that the Indian troops continued to violate ceasefire along the LoC and the IB which is called ‘Working Boundary’ by them. They said that on Friday a marriage party also came under the Indian mortar firing in PoK’s Kotli area, killing, at least, three people including a woman and a child, and injuring five others.
“The Indian troops opened fire on civilian population in Nakyal sector’s Chafrigahi village. Three villagers attending the marriage ceremony were hit by a mortar shell coming from the enemy’s side. The mortar killed 24-year-old Saima Zubair, five-year-old Ammna Shaukat and 50-year-old Latif on the spot,” they said.
Five other people, Aleeza Fatima, Shaheen Akhter, Muhammad Sadiq, Naila Ilyas and Dawood Ahmad were injured in the shelling, they added. The area is about 185-km from Muzaffarabad.
The Pakistani authorities also said that its army “effectively retaliated” to the Indian firing and “silenced their guns”. They alleged that the BSF targeted many areas along the ‘working boundary’ particularly Chaprar sector in Sialkot and “deliberately targeted residential buildings and cattle” using light and heavy mortars.