An injured Border Security Force personnel during cross-border firing between Indian and Pakistani Guards on International Border near Samba, Jammu region of J&K on Thursday, November 09, 2023, being shifted in an ambulance to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Photo: Open Source
JAMMU: In a major Ceasefire Violation in the past 32 months of peace along the Jammu & Kashmir’s borders, a BSF man lost his life as guns roared on the International Border in Jammu’s Ramgarh sector on Thursday. Panic also gripped the entire border belt after the heavy cross-border firing between the Indian and Pakistani Border Guards.
A local news gathering agency KNO said that the situation along the Jammu’s IB is turning volatile as four incidents of ceasefire violations in the last two weeks triggered a fresh wave of panic in border areas.
KNO quoting officials of the BSF said that a BSF man lost his life in the unprovoked ceasefire violation of the Pakistan Rangers in Ramgarh sector of Jammu’s Samba’s district, which is adjacent to R S Pura sector, where a number of houses suffered extensive damage to their properties during the heavy border shelling from Pakistani side 14 days back.
A BSF jawan was injured and several residents of the border towns of Arnia and Suchetgarh were forced to shifted to interiors of the border belt less than a fortnight back. The revenue officials from Jammu division visited the affected border towns to have a first-hand assessment of the damages suffered by the life and property of the border residents.
The latest ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan was finalised on February 24-25 in 2021 after which the situation was peaceful both on International Border and Line of Control. No incident of ceasefire violation was reported in the last 32 months.
However, the situation once again started to worsen on the International Border (IB) with four incidents of ceasefire violations taking place in the last two weeks with three incidents being reported in Jammu district and the fourth one in Samba district.
Official sources said that on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, ceasefire violation took place on IB in Ramgarh sector area of Jammu province with both small arms firing as well as mortar shelling taking place. Local residents said that firing and shelling on IB could be heard for hours in the entire belt even several kilometres away from the border.
In the last night incident, official sources said, a BSF personnel was injured who was shifted to medical facility but he succumbed and that this is the first casualty witnessed on IB since 24-25 February 2021 when ceasefire agreement was finalised. The slain BSF man was identified as Head Constable Lalfam Kima.
Earlier, last week, a BSF personnel as well as an aged woman sustained injuries in ceasefire violation in Arnia sector area of Jammu while two BSF personnel had also received injuries prior to this in two separate incidents in the past 14 days.
The fresh skirmishes on the International Border have spread a fresh wave of unrest in border areas where people are fearing difficult days ahead amid apprehension in the increase of ceasefire violation incidents.
Border Security Force (BSF) in an official statement said that Pakistani Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing. “During intervening night of 8th and 9th of November 2023, Pakistan Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing in Ramgarh area which was befittingly responded by BSF troops,” BSF said in its official statement issued in Jammu.
On the other hand, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor and other top brass attended the wreath laying ceremony held for BSF personnel, who lost his life in this fresh incident of firing. BSF said that in a solemn wreath laying ceremony, LG Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, Special DG BSF PV Ramasastry, IG BSF Jammu D K Boora and all ranks of BSF Jammu paid homage to Head Constable Lalfam Kima.
BSF said that Head Constable Lalfam Kima sacrificed his life in the line of duty for the nation during unprovoked firing by Pakistan on IB in Jammu in the intervening night of 8th, 9th November.
Special Director General of Border Security Force (BSF), PV Ramasastry said that force is ready by all means to foil infiltration attempts on the border and is also giving befitting reply to Pakistan for its unprovoked firing.
In a statement issued here, BSF Special DG said that Pakistan is resorting to mischievous acts on the International Border and has carried out ceasefire violations like the one reported last night in which a BSF personnel attained martyrdom.
He said that Border Security Force (BSF) is giving a befitting reply to this unprovoked firing and is strongly retaliating to it. BSF officer further said that force is all ready to foil any kind of infiltration attempt on IB and to protect the nation.
Security forces on high Alert to thwart Infiltration attempts: DG BSF
The Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF), Nitin Agrawal, Thursday said that security forces are unwavering in their commitment to thwart any attempts of infiltration along the borders.
Director General Agrawal underscored the state of readiness of the security forces, emphasizing their unwavering vigilance in the face of ongoing attempts to infiltrate individuals or groups across the border.
“Maintaining a heightened state of alertness is paramount to ensuring the safety and security of the people, particularly in light of repeated attempts to infiltrate militants before the onset of specific seasons or conditions conducive to such activities. Security forces have been actively monitoring the situation, continuously adapting their strategies, and are prepared to respond swiftly to any indicators of infiltration,” DG BSF told reporters here in Srinagar, a KNS report said.
Agrawal, highlighted the persistent efforts across the border to infiltrate militants before winter and the closure of mountain routes due to heavy snowfall.
The DG also attended and reviewed the passing out parade of 599 BSF recruits at the Subsidiary Training Centre (STC) Kashmir in Humhama, on the outskirts of the city.
Agrawal pointed out that these infiltration attempts are an annual occurrence as the other side seeks to introduce a significant number of militants before the snowfall season, when accessibility becomes severely limited.
The DG BSF affirmed that the security forces maintain a state of high alert, emphasizing his recent visit to the Line of Control (LoC), where he met with troops and Army officers who remain vigilant. He assured that any infiltration attempts will be promptly foiled.
Agrawal noted the consistent success of security forces in thwarting these designs, with a recent encounter resulting in the elimination of a terrorist in Shopian. He expressed concern over militants targeting civilians, a sign of their desperation.
Regarding a ceasefire violation in the Samba district of Jammu, where a BSF trooper was injured, Agrawal disclosed that Pakistani troops had targeted Indian posts on multiple occasions and attacked BSF personnel. While there may have been significant damage on the other side, the DG mentioned that the exact extent remained unconfirmed.
Agrawal acknowledged the ongoing firing incidents across the border, which has been transpiring over the past two weeks.
“However, the reasons behind these incidents are not yet clear. The security forces are actively engaged in discussions to discern the motives and devise a suitable strategy for countering them,” he said.
Agrawal recognized the challenge in predicting the course of such incidents and emphasized that Indian forces only respond when provoked, without initiating hostilities.
He addressed the possibility of firing being a cover for infiltration, noting that the International Border generally presents a lower risk of infiltration.
In addition to his media briefing, Agrawal conducted an inspection of the passing out parade and attestation ceremony for five batches of recruits.
These trainees originate from various regions in eastern and southern India, with 204 from Odisha, 208 from Andhra Pradesh, 112 from Kerala, and 75 from Telangana.