The Border Security Force has fired over 9,000 rounds of mortar shells across the International Border in Jammu in the past four days as part of a “pinpointed” retaliatory action against Pakistan’s unprovoked firing, destroying firing positions and fuel dumps of the Pakistan Rangers at multiple places, officials said on Monday.
Senior officials of the BSF and in the home ministry said the situation along the 190-km IB in the Jammu area was “very tense” as Pakistan had “opened” heavy fire in the entire stretch since Sunday evening.
They said the BSF had fired over 9,000 rounds of mortar shells since January 19, after “Pakistan first breached the peace and hit BSF posts and civilian areas”.
The mortar shelling is in addition to an effective retaliation by an assortment of other arms and ammunition, they said.
The BSF said the force was retaliating with “pinpointed” fire which destroyed firing positions, mortar launching pads and ammunition and fuel dumps of the Pakistan Rangers at multiple places.
The force also released two small video clips purportedly showing the destruction of fuel dumps.
They said the “chicken neck” area of the border in Jammu, near Makwal and Kanachak border posts of the BSF, is also being pounded by the Pakistani forces, which was untouched till now.
“A security force jawan and a few civilians have been injured in these areas and we are receiving heavy fire here since yesterday,” a senior official said.
Sources said the Indian forces have also witnessed the movement of senior commanders of the Rangers and Pakistan Army in the forward areas across the border.
“These visits, as we understand, are being undertaken by Pak commanders to motivate their troops who are getting some good pounding from the Indian side and it is also understood that many of their personnel have been hit fatally or have been injured,” the official said.
The Rangers, they said, have also “refused” to talk to the BSF and come over for a flag meeting till now.
All the BSF border posts in the Jammu area have been put on “high alert” and senior commanders have been asked to be at the front “at least for the next about a week’s time”, they said.
The force has also stepped up the deployment of its “ambush patrols” along the IB to check infiltration, they said.
“Heavy firing aids infiltration and also security at the borders is already up in the wake of the forthcoming Republic Day celebrations,” the official said.
BSF Director General K K Sharma toured the forward areas last week and it is expected that he may again visit these locations around January 26.
The BSF has lost two men in these firing incidents since January 19.
In all, 12 people, including five security personnel, have been killed and over 60 others injured in Pakistani firing from across the border in Jammu since Thursday.
Image: A man looks at the wall of his house that the local residents say was damaged by firing from the Pakistan side of the border at Kanachak in Akhnoor Sector on the outskirts of Jammu. Photograph: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters