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National
Following India’s stern warning, Pak guns fall silent along JK border
11-10-2014

JAMMU: An eerie calm prevailed along the 200-km long international border from Kathua to Pargwal sector as Pakistani mortar guns remained silent on Thursday night, after Border Security Force retaliated to continuous ceasefire violations by Pakistani Rangers since the night of October 3.

As the Pakistani Rangers pounded civilian areas on the Indian  side with 81 mm mortar shells, the BSF too used equal calibre weapons causing wide spread damage across the border forcing many to ask India for holding a flag meeting to de-escalate tension.

India, however, refused to talk to Pakistan or hold flag meeting, saying that it should stop firing on civilian population on the Indian side. The Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had warned Pakistan against incidents of ceasefire violation by its troops, saying that India would make its misadventure unaffordable.

“There has been no firing along the border tonight since 8.20 pm,’’ said sources in the BSF. The Pakistani Rangers had fired at four BSF border out posts in Hiranagar for only 20 minutes beginning at 8 pm, they added.

Eight people have so far died and over 80 injured in continued firing and mortar shelling on civilian population on the Indian side by Pakistan since October 3. Of them, two women had died in Samba sector on Wednesday.

Since situation along the border continues to escalate, the Jammu Kashmir government has set up “crisis management groups’’ to evacuate people from areas affected by shelling from across the border.

In light of Pakistani Rangers and troops  targeting civilian population on the Indian side, “crisis management groups have been activated along the borderline from Poonch to Kathua districts to first evacuate people and then provide food and  shelter to them,” said Inspector General of Police for Jammu zone, Rajesh Kumar, here.

The Pakistani shelling during the last one week had come after nearly a month long lull along the international border. The Rangers had started targeting civilian population on Indian side of the border less than 24 hours after both the US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington agreed to make “joint and concerted efforts to dismantle safe havens for terror and criminal networks  like Lashkar-e-Toiba, D-Company, Al Qaeda and Haqqani network’’.