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Pak Rangers, sources say, were forced to seek a meeting from BSF after Indian forces pounded their posts and villages with mortar shells and firing in response to repeated ceasefire violations in last four days. Several thousand villagers have been affected in Pak firing, particularly near the International Border in Jammu.
A statement by BSF Spokesperson said, “A BSF-Pak Rangers Sector Commander level meeting was held at 5.30 pm opposite Border out Post (BoP) Octroi. Meeting went off in a conducive atmosphere with prime focus to maintain peace and tranquility on border”.
“Today’s meeting is likely to bring firing-free environment, particularly for border area villagers on both sides. Commanders on both side agreed to keep talks on at every level to develop confidence between two border guarding forces,” he said.
During the meeting, the Pakistani side is learnt to have said that they would not initiate any cross-border firing and the BSF reciprocated by saying that it would only retaliate when provoked.
The two sides have decided to further hold next Sector Commander level meeting on June 21.
The meeting on Monday came a day after two BSF jawans were killed in Pak firing.
An assessment by BSF suggests that while Pakistani forces failed to maintain ceasefire despite a commitment made on May 29, a particular Commander of Pak Rangers is not listening to his seniors and has probably participated with non-state actors in the firing, sniping of jawans and shelling last three-four days, said an official.
The official data compiled by security agencies reveal that ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir have increased this year (total 1,252), with international border (IB) in Jammu facing the brunt with 300 odd incidents already this year till now.
The data reveals that 46 persons have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistani firing this year already, which includes 20 security personnel.
Last month, thousands of people residing along the IB in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts had to flee their houses following intense shelling from the Pakistani side.
On May 29, the DGMOs of India and Pakistan had agreed to “fully implement” the ceasefire pact of 2003 in “letter and spirit” to stop border skirmishes in Jammu and Kashmir. The two military commanders had reviewed the prevailing situation along the Line of Control (LoC) and the IB in the state during a conversation over the special hotline – an initiative of the Pakistani Director General of Military Operations (DGMO).
Following the conversation between India’s DGMO Lt Gen Anil Chauhan and his Pakistani counterpart, Maj. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza, the armies of both the countries had issued identical statements, saying both sides had agreed to implement the 15-year-old ceasefire understanding.
However, the ceasefire violations continued during last week.
Meanwhile, the centre on Monday enhanced to Rs 50,000 the compensation for loss of each milch animal due to cross-border firing in Jammu and Kashmir.
The ministry of home affairs said the compensation of Rs 30,000 for loss of each milch animal was quite inadequate compared to their actual value.
Border areas of Jammu and Kashmir are facing losses of livestock, crops, houses etc. due to cross-border firing from across the border. The central government had announced expenditure for relief camps and compensation for losses of houses, crops and livestock at rates fixed in December 2017 by the national Disaster Relief Fund for the victims of cross-border firing. These claims will initially be paid to the victims by the Jammu and Kashmir government after evaluating the actual loss.
The amount will then be reimbursed by the home ministry under security related expenditure (relief and rehabilitation) scheme.