n STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU/SRINAGAR: The BSF and the Pakistan Rangers held a flag meeting on Tuesday in Samba sector along the Intern-ational Border here and “committed” themselves to maintaining peace on a day when an Indian Army jawan and a minor girl were killed in heavy firing and mortar shelling by the Pakistani side along the LoC.
An Army jawan and a minor girl were killed while four persons injured in heavy firing and mortar shelling by the Pakistan Army along the LoC in Poonch, Rajouri and Baramulla districts.
The Indian Army retaliated, triggering heavy exchanges.
“The Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked firing on Indian Army posts in Rajouri sector and Poonch district at around 7:30 AM. The Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively,” a Defence spokesman said. In the fire exchange, Naik Muddasar Ahmed was grievously injured when mortar shells landed on his bunker, the spokesman said, adding that he was evacuated to the MI room where he succumbed to injuries. The 37-year-old jawan, who hailed from Duchoo village, is survived by his wife Shaheena Muddasar and two children. “Ahmed was a brave and sincere soldier. He loved his job to the core,” the spokesman said. The nation will always remain indebted to him for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty, he said.
Pakistan also shelled mortars on civilian areas in Balakote, Manjakote and Baroti belts, a police officer said.
In the firing and shelling, 9-year-old Sajada Houser was killed at Baroti, the officer said.
A senior district official of Rajouri said two civilians were injured in shelling in Manjakote belt of Rajouri district and have been hospitalised. A jawan was also injured, he said.
All schools in border of Manajote and Balakote belts are closed and people have been advised not to come out of their homes in view of the heavy shelling, they said.
Dr Shahid Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner Rajouri has ordered closure of all schools close to the border while 120 students were held up in Government School at Panjgrain and on report of headmaster senior officers coordinated to ensure their safe evacuation as shelling reportedly affected nearby area.
Dr Choudhary also rushed to forward areas to oversee arrangements for likely evacuation and emergency response.
The schools that were closed for an indefinite period include Primary Schools Sharmabasti, Korapani, Nangal, Tadyalla, Chakwa, Trutta Dhara, Mahal Rajdhani, Kalvatra Mohalla, Lal Beig, Rependi, Kotedhar, Chakli; Middle Schools Naika, Kundinakkar, Paryali, Lambibari and High Schools Khorinar and Dhar.
District Administration has sounded alert and advised the residents to stay indoors and field officers have been deputed for coordination.
HS Ghambir Brahmna, HSS Kakora, HSS Manjakote, Panchayat Ghar and other locations have been notified as camps for likely evacuation while four ambulances were rushed to Ghambir, Panjgrain and Manjakote.
Joint teams of Health, Revenue, Animal Husbandry, Sheep Husbandry, Agriculture and other departments have also been deputed for loss assessment, damage report and providing required assistance.
Later in the day, Pakistani troops started unprovoked firing at three villages in Kamalkote area of Uri in Baramulla district around 3:00 pm, defence sources said.
They said one soldier was injured in the firing.
Intermittent firing by Pakistani troops was going on till last reports came in.
Seven persons, including four jawans were killed, in ceasefire violations by Pakistan Army along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir in July.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Rangers’ request, a commandant-wing commander level flag meeting was held between the BSF and the Pakistan border guarding force, a senior Border Security Force official said.
During the meeting, commanders of both sides discussed various issues including the recent “unprovoked” firing in Samba Sector and other routine issues related to border management, he said.
In the flag meet, it was decided to re-energise instant communication between field commanders, whenever required, to resolve petty matters, the BSF official said.
“They committed to each other to maintain peace and tranquility at the International Border,” the official added.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh have expressed grief over the killing of Army jawan Naik Mudasir Ahmed, a resident of Tral, Pulwama.
He while expressing sympathies with the family of the martyred soldier said that the sacrifices rendered by the jawans would not go in vain and a befitting reply would be given to thwart the nefarious designs of the enemies of India.
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