Kashmir Indepth

Soldier killed in ceasefire violation along LoC in J-K

Jammu, Mar 24 (PTI) A soldier was killed Sunday when Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire by targeting forward posts and villages with heavy caliber weapons and rockets along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Rajouri districts, a defence spokesperson said.

The Indian Army retaliated in strong measure, inflicting adequate damage and casualties to Pakistani troops, Jammu-based Public Relations Officer (defence) Lt Col Devender Anand said.

He said grenadier Hari Bhakar, a resident of Rajasthan’s Nagaur district, was seriously injured and admitted to the nearest field hospital, but succumbed later, taking the number of Army personnel killed since last week to three.

On March 18, rifleman Karamjeet Singh was killed in Pakistani firing in Rajouri district, while rifleman Yash Paul lost his life in unprovoked firing by Pakistan troops in the same sector on March 21.

Col Anand said heavy caliber weapons and rockets were also fired from across the border in unprovoked firing by Pakistan troops in Poonch sector Saturday evening.

“Own troops retaliated in strong measure inflicting adequate damage and casualties to Pakistani army,” he said.

Officials said grenadier Bhakar wa/s guarding a forward post in Shahpur area and was critically injured in the cross-border firing, which continued intermittently throughout the night.

A wreath laying ceremony was held in northern Army headquarters at Udhampur to pay tribute to him, the officials said, adding that his his mortal remains were transported in a service aircraft from Udhampur to Jaipur.

Lt Col Anand said Pakistan also initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by shelling mortars and firing of small arms along the LoC in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district around 11.50 am.

The border skirmishes witnessed a spurt after India’s air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26 in response to the February 14 Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel.

Four civilians, including three members of a family, have been killed and several injured as Pakistan, since then, has targeted dozens of villages in over 125 incidents of ceasefire violations along the LoC.

The year 2018 witnessed the highest number of ceasefire violations — 2,936 — by Pakistani troops in the last 15 years along the Indo-Pak border.

Pakistan continues to violate the 2003 ceasefire agreement with India despite repeated calls for restraint and adherence to the pact during flag meetings between the two sides.

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