The heavy firing and shelling from the Pakistani side for almost 12 hours in Pragwal area of Akhnoor, Kanachak and Khour sectors of Jammu district ended 12 days of lull in the border skirmishes, also leaving 14 people, including two BSF jawans, a policeman and two women injured, officials said.
The shelling was so intense that the deafening sound of mortar shell explosions was even heard in the Jammu city, residents said.
The Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing by targeting forward duty points at the IB in Pragwal around 0115 hours, causing critical injuries to Assistant Sub-inspector S N Yadav, 48, and constable V K Pandey, 27, Inspector General of BSF, Jammu frontier, Ram Avtar said.
He said both the injured were rushed to a nearby hospital but later succumbed to injuries.
The firing from across the border in violation of the ceasefire agreement prompted a strong and effective retaliation by the BSF, Avtar said.
He said the Pakistani troops also targeted civilian areas in Kanachak and Khour sectors besides the forward posts.
A BSF spokesman said the cremation of the martyrs would be held on Monday at their respective native villages in Uttar Pradesh.
Additional District Development Commissioner, Jammu, Arun Manhas said a total of 14 people, including a policeman, were injured in the cross-border shelling in Akhnoor, Kanachak and Khour sectors of the district.
“We have activated six lodgment centers at safer places for the people of the affected areas but so far nobody has turned up at these camps,” Manhas told PTI.
He said some people were shifted to safer places in the morning or evacuated by security forces in bullet proof vehicles.
“The heavy firing continued till 11.30 am and continued intermittently in a few areas till 1 pm before it stopped completely,” Manhas said.
The officials said the injured, included two BSF personnel, two women, a policeman and a 13-year-old boy, and most of them are stated to be in a stable condition.
The residents of Shama Chak, one of the villages hit by the Pakistani shelling, said this was for the first time that they witnessed mortars exploding near their houses.
“Our village is almost six kilometers from the international border and just 10 kms from Jammu city. This is for the first time shells rained in our village causing splinter injuries to four persons,” a resident said.
On May 29, the DGMOs of India and Pakistan agreed to ‘fully implement’ the ceasefire pact of 2003 in ‘letter and spirit’ forthwith to stop border skirmishes in the state.
The two military commanders reviewed the prevailing situation along the LoC and the IB in Jammu and Kashmir during a conversation over the special hotline.
The hotline contact was initiated by the Pakistani DGMO.
Following the conversation between Indian DGMO Lt Gen Anil Chauhan and Pakistan’s Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, the two armies issued identical statements, saying that both sides agreed to implement the 15-year-old ceasefire understanding.
The latest deaths in the Pakistani firing raised the casualty figure during ceasefire violations along the IB and the Line of Control (LoC) in the state to 46. The dead includes 20 security personnel.
Last month, thousands of people residing along the IB in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts had to flee their homes following intense shelling from the Pakistani side between May 15 and May 23 which left 12 people dead, including two BSF jawans and an infant, and scores of others injured.
After the DGMOs of the two countries spoke to each other, hope rekindled among border residents who had started returning to their homes but the latest incident triggered fresh concerns among them.