Jammu, June 21 (Calcutta Tube) 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.
Pakistani troops began the assault on the Abdullain border outpost in Jammu region’s Ranbir Singh Pura sector before dawn, a police officer told IANS. ‘The BSF returned the fire.’
A BSF trooper told IANS that the exchange of fire lasted for about an hour.
According to Indian officials, firing from across the border resumed around noon, trapping the BSF men at the forward post in Abdullain, 30 km west of Jammu.
An official said the troopers were trapped close to Zero Line, where they had laid an ambush, a usual practice to check infiltration of terrorists from across the international border.
Despite two rounds of flag meetings between the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers, the firing had not stopped from the other side, an official said in the evening.
The number of BSF men trapped was estimated at 20-30.
A BSF official said the force was waiting for darkness to set in to launch an operation to rescue the trapped troopers.
‘We cannot take any chance at the moment as our movement would get exposed during daytime. Our first priority is to get them out of this situation,’ the official told IANS.
India says that 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 Line of Control (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 has spread panic among the residents of border villages who see it as beginning of escalation of tensions 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.
The ceasefire violation comes ahead of Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao’s visit to Pakistan Thursday when she meets her counterpart Salman Bashir.