The Army authorities have applauded the “courage and perseverance” of the alert troops.
Srinagar: The Army on Monday said that it foiled a major attack on one of its forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district by killing two members of Pakistan's Border Action Team (BAT).
In a statement the Army said that the intruders had on Sunday attempted to move by exploiting the thick woods close to the de facto border and were assisted by heavy covering fire of high calibre weapons including mortars and rocket launchers from the Pakistani posts.
It said, “The movement was nonetheless detected by the Indian Army troops deployed along the LoC. The fire-fight initiated by Pakistan was retaliated by Indian Army and the exchange of fire continued the whole night”.
In Islamabad, the Pakistani authorities alleged that the Indian troops resorted to unprovoked firing and shelling in Shahkot sector of the LoC in violation of the November 2003 ceasefire understanding resulting into the death of a woman resident Shah Bibi and injuries to nine other civilians including three children and two women.
The defence spokesman in Srinagar said that after killing the two intruders and retaliating to the Pakistani firing, the Army personnel conducted prolonged search operations of thick jungles in difficult terrain conditions to ascertain the situation.
“During the search operations, the elimination of two likely Pakistani soldiers was confirmed. Also these led to the recovery of a large cache of warlike stores with Pakistani markings,” the spokesman said.
He added that the search operations were still underway in the sector to sanitise the area.
The Army also reported that a few other intruders managed to escape across the LoC, taking advantage of the Pakistani firing and adverse weather and visibility conditions.
It said that the intruders were wearing combat dresses like Pakistani regulars and were carrying stores with Pakistani markings which reinforced the assessment. “Some intruders were also seen in Border Security Force (BSF) and old pattern Indian Army dresses as part of deception,” it said.
According to a statement issued by the Army, the intruded were equipped with Improvised Explosives Devices, incendiary materials, explosives and a plethora of arms and ammunition. “From the recovery, it was estimated that they intended to carry out a gruesome attack on the Indian Army forward post in Naugam sector. But the alertness and resilience of the own troops, who engaged and neutralised the intruders, a likely treacherous attack on the Army forward posts along the LoC on the eve of New Year was foiled,” it said.
The Army authorities have applauded the “courage and perseverance” of the alert troops. “The Indian Army's resolve to keep a strict vigil along the LoC and defeat all such nefarious designs of Pakistan will continue to remain firm and consistent.”
The Army further said that it will ask Pakistan to take back the mortal remains of slain likely Pakistani soldiers as Pakistan did provide full covering fire support to these intruders.
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement said that the Indian troops resorted to “unprovoked ceasefire violation” along the LoC targeting civilian population in Shahkot sector on Monday. It said that a local resident Asia Bibi was killed while nine others including three children and two women were injured. The ISPR also said, “Pakistan army troops responded effectively to those Indian posts (which were) targeting civil population.
Deputy Commissioner of PoK’s Neelam valley, Shahid Mehmood, said that several residential houses, a hospital at Athmuqam and other properties were damaged in the Indian firing. He also said that the educational institutions in the affected areas have been closed till further orders and residents were being evacuated to safer locations. He said that the road connecting the valley with PoK capital Muzaffarabad has been closed for vehicular traffic “as a precautionary measure”.