In the wake of escalation in ceasefire violations along the Indo-Pak frontier in Jammu and Kashmir, Border Security Forces on Sunday said it has spotted armed terrorists “very close” to the international border on at least “three occasions” in the last few days and suspect the firings are an attempt to help them infiltrate into India.
The BSF also said that it was giving a “befitting reply” with a heavy intensity and volume of fire to the Pakistani firing and have clear instructions from the home ministry that there should be “retaliatory action”. “On at least three occasions, with the help of our hand-held thermal imaging gadgets, we have observed that few people in civil dress armed with weapons were moving very close to the International Border in the darkness of the night. When we fired, they retracted. We presume they were militants because why would a civilian, late in the night, venture along the IB?” BSF Director General D K Pathak said.
“One of the main reasons for the increase in unprovoked firings from Pakistan looks to be infiltration (of militants). The firings are being done to facilitate infiltrators and last year during the same time Pakistan did so,” the BSF chief said.
The DG said their repeated requests for holding flag meetings with Pakistan Rangers has “not been responded to” till now by their counterparts. “We have sent a number of ‘protest notes’ to the Rangers over these firings. The last one was sent last night,” the DG said.
Pathak said as many as 25 BSF posts are under intense firing of Pakistani forces and the series of these violations began on August 16. “There were a series of ceasefire violations few days prior to August 16 also,” he said.
The DG said there have been two civilian casualities and 19 people were injured till now on the Indian side which includes BSF troops. “According to reports in Pakistan media, there have been 5 causalities and 16 injuries on the other side after we retaliated the firing,” Pathak said.
The DG said Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during talks with him on Saturday on the subject, has issued clear instructions that “retaliatory action” should be done.
Pathak reiterated that his force was giving a “befitting reply” with a heavy intensity and volume of fire. “The intensity of firing that we do is much larger and more effective than them (Pakistan). Our principle is that we don’t open the first fire and we do not target civilian areas. We abide by that. We will keep giving strong retaliatory reply,” he said.
The DG said they have not witnessed any tension at present on the other parts of the Indo-Pak border which runs through Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab. He also said the army has located a tunnel in the Sunderbani area of Akhnoor sector in the state but it was found that the secret underground opening had no exit.
“This (tunnel) was found by the army in their area so I cannot comment much on that,” he said.
The DG said the force, at present, does not feel the requirement to deploy additional manpower in view of these ceasefire violations in J and K and the numbers they have was “good enough” to counter the enemy’s actions.