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Army lodges strong protest over Pak firing in JK

Source: PTI
May 21, 2008 19:32 IST
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The Indian Army on Wednesday lodged a strong protest with its Pakistani counterpart over Monday's unprovoked cross-border firing, at a forward post in Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after Islamabad gave an assurance that it was committed to maintaining the ceasefire.

"A flag meeting was held at the Roshni border post along LoC in Mendhar sector of Poonch district, where India lodged a strong protest over ceasefire violation and unprovoked firing on Monday," defence spokesman Lieutenant Colonel S D Goswami told PTI.

He said a formal protest note was handed over to the Pakistani army officers. India had sought the flag meeting after the incident in which rockets were also fired by the Pakistani side.

The protest comes a day after India and Pakistan resumed their composite dialogue, the first since the new government assumed office in Islamabad last month. Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said after talks with Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir on Tuesday that "both sides made it clear that they attach great importance to the ceasefire and they want to make it hold".

During the half-an-hour meeting between the army officers, India gave a detailed account of the cross-border firing on Dhip post in which a jawan was killed, Goswami said. Indian officers also gave evidence to their Pakistani counterparts to prove ceasefire violation. Colonel Manish Kumar headed the Indian side while the Pakistani team was led by Colonel S Malik.

Goswami said that on Monday, firing, rocket and UBGL grenade attacks were undertaken on Indian post by the Pakistani troops, in which one jawan, Naik Yashwant Rai of 2/8 Gorkha Rifles, was killed.

This is the third truce violation in less than a fortnight. On May 9, Pakistani troops targeted Border Security Force post and a patrol party along the international border in Samba sector and indulged in heavy fire.

Five days later, Indian posts in Tangdhar belt of Kupwara were targeted with mortar shells. The ceasefire came into being on November 16, 2003 and no violation of the truce was reported till May 9 this year.

Goswami said that there might be attempts to push in militants before the start of the Amarnath yatra and polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the army has increased its guard along forward areas by inducting three more units of Rashtriya Rifles.

The BSF is also deploying more companies along the IB to plug infiltration routes.

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