Jammu: Indian troops have given a befitting reply to the ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces, BSF said on Sunday while strongly criticising it for repeatedly disturbing peace along the border. IG, BSF, Jammu Frontier, Rakesh Kumar Sharma, talking to reporters, also said that Pakistan wanted to divert the attention of its people from its internal turmoil towards the border by escalating skirmishes.
"Peace must prevail along the borderline. But Pakistan is not taking any efforts to bring peace along Indo-Pak border. The volume of fire has risen from Pakistani side and we are firing more," Sharma said. Responding to queries on the reasons behind escalation of border skirmishes, he said there was internal turmoil in Pakistan and secondly, their troops have failed to maintain alertness levels in the absence of action.
To revive the alertness and to divert people's attention from the internal turmoil, Pakistani forces were increasingly violating ceasefire, he said. Sharma, however, asserted that India will not allow any unprovoked firing.
"Since July 16, Pakistani troops have continuously resorted to firing and BSF has given a befitting reply. As per Pakistani media reports, two Pak rangers have been killed and five injured. It is reliably learnt that two LeT cadres have also been killed in retaliatory fire the day before," he said.
"On 23 August at 2230 hours, Pak rangers started firing on 25 BoPs in RS Pura, Arnia and Akhnoor sectors. In retaliation, all BSF BoPs gave a befitting reply to Pakistani rangers thereby forcing them to stop firing," he said. "As per Pakistani media reports, 3 civilians are reported to have been killed and 11 injured, besides heavy damage caused to PoK BOPs," he said.
In a major escalation, Pakistani forces have violated ceasefire 18 times in less than a fortnight and 20 times in August. Asked about possible support of Pakistani Army to their Rangers, he said "In past Pakistan, Army has always been backing Rangers, so it is not ruled out. We have information that Pakistani army is backing them."
He however, ruled out any border buildup across the border on the Pakistani side. He also denied reports that Indian Army has been deployed along International Border (IB) following surge in the firing from across. Replying to another question about use of weapons by Pakistani forces, Sharma said, "Pakistani Rangers first resorted to small arms firing including LMG, MMG and HMG and then fired 52 mm and 82 mm mortar shells which target deep into civilian areas. We counter them whenever they target. We target and destroy Pak posts giving them a befitting reply."
He said that BSF is fully prepared along the border throughout the year and BoPs have been strengthened and there was no shortage of manpower. Replying to a question on the directive by Home Ministry, the BSF IG said there are clear instructions from the top to BoPs level asking troops to give strong befitting reply.