Capt, 3 soldiers martyred; 4 injured in heavy Pak shelling


JAMMU, An Army Captain and three soldiers were martyred and four persons including two Army and BSF jawans and two teen-age civilians were injured in heavy ceasefire violations by Pakistan army almost across all major Sectors on the Line of Control (LoC) in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri today in which Pakistani troops also used missiles.

This was for the second time in less than one and a half month that Army has suffered four fatal casualties in a single incident of ceasefire violation. On December 23, 2017, an Army Major and three soldiers were martyred in Keri sector of Rajouri district.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Pakistan army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatic, mortars and missiles on the LoC in Bhimber Gali sector of Rajouri district. In the firing and shelling, four Army soldiers including a Captain were martyred and another jawan was injured in Tarkundi area in BG sector of Poonch district.
The Indian side retaliated effectively, leading to heavy exchanges that continued till late tonight.
Of four martyrs, two soldiers belonged to Samba and Kathua districts of Jammu region.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tonight tweeted: “pained to hear that three (four) soldiers were killed and two injured along the Line of Control in Rajouri. My condolences to the deceased’s families”.
Meanwhile, authorities in Rajouri district tonight ordered closure of all 84 schools located within five kilometers from LoC from Sunderbani to Manjakote for next three days in view of ceasefire violations by Pakistan army.
The martyrs have been identified as Capt Kapil Kundu, 23, R/o village Ransika, Pataudi in Gurgaon area of Haryana, Rifleman Ramavatar, 28, R/o village Baraka, Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, Rifleman Subham Singh, 23, R/o village Mukandpur Choudharian, Marheen in Kathua district of Jammu and Havaldar Roshan Lal, 43, R/o village Nicholas, Ghagwal in Samba district of Jammu.
Capt Kapil Kundu, who was killed just six days before his birthday, was survived by his mother Sunita while Rifleman Ramavatar was survived by his wife Rachana Lodhi. Rifleman Subham Singh is survived by his father Parshotam Singh and Havaldar Roshan Lal by his wife Asha Devi, a Defence spokesman said. Capt Kundu would have turned 23 on February 10.
Bodies of the martyrs would be sent to their native towns with full military honours tomorrow morning after wreath laying ceremony.
“Martyrdom of Indian Army soldiers will not go in vain. The unprovoked action by the Pakistan army will be given a befitting response,” a Defence spokesman said.
Pakistan activated almost all major Sectors on the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch districts today including Sunderbani, Nowshera, Manjakote, Poonch, Mendhar and Balakote by resorting to heavy mortar shelling and firing in some of the forward areas targeting Army posts and civilian areas.
The Indian side retaliated at all places.
Two teen-agers-Shahnaz Bano, 15 and Yasin,14, were injured when a mortar shell exploded close to their house in Shahpur sub sector of Poonch this afternoon. They were evacuated from the site of firing and shifted to hospital, where they were responding to the treatment.
A BSF ASI was injured in Sunderbani sector.
Sources said Pakistan side was also reported to have suffered heavy losses in retaliatory shelling by the Indian troops at all the places.
Since January 18, death toll in ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the Line of Control and International Border has gone up to 18 as 14 persons including eight civilians and six security personnel were killed during past fortnight. However, there has been no ceasefire violation on the International Border in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts since January 22. Firing and shelling by Pakistan on the Line of Control has become a regular feature.
There was panic among the border dwellers along LoC as Pakistan continued to target civilian areas in both Rajouri and Poonch districts. During the past several days, people were mostly confining themselves to their houses. Schools also remained closed for past several days in shelling hit areas on the LoC.