Army tight-lipped over casualties to Pak army

Colonel NN Joshi said there was a ceasefire violation in the area last night and brief exchange of fire between troops of two countries.

Published: 14th November 2016 09:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th November 2016 09:15 PM   |  A+A-

Pakistan army soldiers-AP
Express News Service

SRINAGAR: Army is tight lipped over seven casualties suffered by Pakistan army in Bhimber area of Nowshera sector in Rajouri distrct of Jammu and Kashmir last evening.

“Nothing is clear yet,” army’s Northern command spokesman Colonel N N Joshi said.

He said there was a ceasefire violation in the area last night and brief exchange of fire between troops of two countries.

Asked whether casualties to Pakistan army were caused in yesterday’s firing, he said, “It is very difficult on the ground to assess damage caused to the other side in the firing during the night.” 

“During the night, you don’t know what level of damage has been caused to the other side. We are assessing the situation,” the spokesman said.

Asked whether the casualties to Pakistan side were caused yesterday or in past week, Joshi said, “It is very difficult to put things right now”.

On November 8, Army’s Northern command had said that heavy damage was caused to Pakistan army posts in Nowshera sector after Pakistani troops violated border ceasefire and fired on army posts, injuring an army man.

Defence spokesman in Jammu, Lt Col Manish Mehta told Express that he has no information about casualties to Pakistani troops in firing yesterday.

He said Pakistan army resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation in Sunderbani and Naushera sectors in Rajouri district from 2.40 pm. “They fired from automatic weapons and resorted to 82 mm mortar shelling on our posts. Our men also effectively returned the fire”.

Mehta further said Pakistani troops also fired on army posts in Palanwala sector of Jammu district. “The fire was effectively returned by the army men”.

Sources said an army man was injured in Pakistan army firing along LoC in Poonch today.

Official sources said had the Pakistan army suffered seven casualties in firing yesterday, then they would have set the LoC and International Border (IB) on fire by firing and shelling on security force posts and civilian areas.

“May be these killings have not taken place in a single incident but in army retaliation to Pakistan ceasefire violations in last week or may have been caused by cross-border raid of Indian army commandos,” they said.

After suffering of casualties by Pakistan army, authorities have not evacuated the border people as a precautionary measure as was the case after surgical strikes on militant launch pads across the LoC by army on the intervening night of September 28/29.

Deputy Commissioner of Rajouri Shabir Ahmad Bhat told Express that no fresh evacuation of civilian population along the border area has taken place.

“We have not evacuated any border families today,” he said. 

Bhat said 500 people from border areas in Rajouri have shifted to safer places due to continuous Pakistani firing and shelling.  “We have set up camps for the evacuated border people”.

Deputy Commissioner Poonch Haroon Malik said they have not been alerted by army or civil administration to evacuate the border people.

“We have not received any such message and neither did we evacuate border people today,” he said.

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