JAMMU/NEW DELHI: Four Pakistani rangers were killed in BSF’s strong retaliaton after a jawan of the force lost his life in heavy firing from the other side on a patrol today along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba district.
The retaliation which forced the rangers to wave white flags came on a day when the Government asked the Border Security Force(BSF) to provide a "suitable and appropriate reply" for any unprovoked firing from across the Indo-Pak border.
Today's firing by Pakistan in which one jawan was also injured was the second ceasefire violation along the IB in the past 24 hours.
"We have retaliated effectively to the Pakistani firing, in which four Pakistani rangers have been killed (opposite to Regal post) along the IB in Samba sector this evening," Inspector General (IG) BSF, Jammu Frontier Rakesh Sharma told PTI in Jammu.
As Pakistani rangers suffered casualties, they waved white flags asking BSF to stop the firing so that they can lift the bodies of its dead men, he said.
"Honouring their request we stopped the firing and allowed them to come to the border line and lift the bodies," he said adding, "firing along the border line has now stopped".
In the morning, Pakistan Rangers targetted a BSF patrol party by resorting to firing along the IB in Samba district.
There was heavy firing by Pakistan on a patrolling party of BSF along the IB in Suchtegarh forward belt in Samba sector, Inspector General (IG) BSF, Jammu Frontier Rakesh Sharam told PTI.
In the heavy firing, one BSF jawan was killed, the IG said, adding that the BSF troops were on routine patrol when they were attacked.
The deceased jawan has been identified as Constable Sri Ram Gowria, the IG said. Another jawan suffered minor injuries, reports said.
Sharma, who has rushed to the spot and supervising the operation, said BSF troops took positions, gave a befitting reply. There were also reports of firing in other areas in Kathua and Samba district.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked the BSF to give a befitting reply when the paramilitary force's Director General D K Pathak briefed him about the prevailing situation in Jammu frontier.
"The Home Minister asked the DG, BSF to provide a suitable and appropriate reply for any such unprovoked firing," an official statement released in Delhi said.
Pathak gave a detailed presentation to the Home Minister about the ceasefire violations by Pakistan Rangers in the Samba sector.
Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the Indian security forces should not hold back in the face of firing and must retaliate with "double the force". Underlining that the the number of ceasefire violations across the LoC have reduced as compared to last year, Parrikar, however, noted that the violations have increased across the IB.
Asked what has been his direction to the security forces, Parrikar, who was interacting with defence journalists last night, said, "Our (NDA government) response is don't hesitate.
React appropriately without holding yourself back".
He said that if there are any ceasefire violations, the Indian forces should retaliate "with double the force" and if there is an attack on Army posts, the terrorists need to be neutralised.
The Minister stressed that the Indian forces don't violate ceasefire agreement but only respond to violations by Pakistani troops.
Yesterday, Pakistan troops had resorted to firing on forward posts along the LoC in Pallanwala sector of Jammu district and Sepoy Amarjeet Singh was injured in the firing.
Pakistani troops had on Sunday violated the ceasefire twice along the border in Arnia forward belt of Jammu and Hiranagar belt of Kathua district.
On December 25, Pakistani Rangers indulged in unprovoked small arms firing in forward areas in Pansar border out post (BoP) belt of Hiranagar sub-sector in Kathua district.
On December 24, Pakistani troops had fired mortar shells and small arms targeting the same areas.
Over 550 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan took place this year, the highest since the truce came into force in 2003, with the Indo-Pak border witnessing the worst such escalation during August-October period which left 13 people dead and thousands displaced.