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BSF men trapped in J&K border
Published on 22 Jun. 2010 12:08 AM IST
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At least 20-30 Indian Border Security Force (BSF) troopers were trapped in a border post in Jammu and Kashmir Monday after Pakistani troops opened fire, sparking intermittent but heavy gunbattles, officials said. This is the second ceasefire violation by Pakistan in as many days and comes ahead of Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao’s visit to Pakistan Thursday.
Pakistani troops fired on the Abdullain border outpost in Jammu region’s Ranbir Singh Pura sector. An official said the troopers were trapped close to the Zero Line, where they had laid an ambush, a usual practice to check infiltration by terrorists from across the international border.
After intermittent exchanges, the two sides halted firing at each other around 6 p.m. after the local commanders of the BSF and Pakistani Rangers held two flag meetings to discuss the ceasefire violation on the International Border.
Pakistani Rangers had first opened fire at 4 a.m. and it lasted for an hour. The firing resumed around noon and continued intermittently till 6 p.m., sources said.
A BSF official said the force was waiting for darkness to set in to launch an operation to rescue the trapped troopers in the forward post in Abdullain, 30 km west of Jammu.
“All of them are safe and holding their positions. With the guns falling silent, we can reach them and have reinforced supplies,” a senior BSF officer said.
The ceasefire violations have increased of late, both at the Line of Control and International Border, he said.
“We have communicated to our headquarters about the Pakistani attempts to disturb peace on the borders,” the officer said.
India says this is the second ceasefire violation by Pakistan in as many days. On Sunday, two civilian porters working for the Indian army were killed and two troopers injured when Pakistan troops opened fire at Machil sector on the LoC. India and Pakistan share two types of border - the International Border in parts of Jammu and Kashmir, extending all the way to Gujarat, and the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
The incidents of firing have spread panic among the residents of border villages who see it as beginning of escalation of tension between the two neighbours. India and Pakistan have fought four wars in the past 60 years.
The villagers of Abdullain kept mostly indoors Monday, sheltering themselves from the firing. “It’s a bad signal for us,” Randhir Singh, a farmer, told a group of visiting journalists.
Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao is to visit Pakistan Thursday to meet her counterpart Salman Bashir.

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