Pak ceasefire violation: BSF jawan, 4 civilians killed in Kashmir; updates

File photo of BSF Constable Sitaram Upadhyay, who lost his life in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan in RS Pura sector of Jammu and Kashmir | Photo: Twitter@ANI
Pakistani troops on Friday fired at Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in RS Pura, Bishnah and Arnia sectors of Jammu and Kashmir, killing four civilians and a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan. In total, 12 persons, including a BSF officer, were injured in the firing. The firing, for a third straight day, comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. A BSF officer said an assistant sub-inspector of the force had suffered a splinter injury at Pittal BoP and had been admitted to a hospital. In the heavy Pakistan shelling in R S Pura and Arnia sectors, five civilians were also injured and evacuated to hospitals by police in bullet-proof vehicles, a police officer said. Three civilians were injured in Arnia sector, and two in R S Pura. In January this year, residents of the RS Pura sector were forced to leave their homes in the wake of the ceasefire arrangement being repeatedly violated by Pakistan.

BSF troops retaliate 

BSF troops guarding the border retaliated and exchanges were going on at the time reports last came in from the area, a senior BSF officer told PTI.

The slain jawan was identified as 28-year-old constable Sitaram Upadhyay of 192 Battalion. He was critically injured at Jabowal BoP around 0130 hours and died on way to GMC Hospital in Jammu. Upadhyay hailed from Giridih in Jharkhand and joined the force in 2011. He is survived by a three-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.

Firing in Samba and Kathua districts

On Thursday, a BSF jawan was among two persons injured when Pakistan Rangers opened fire and lobbed mortars at over 15 border outposts (BOPs) and some civilian areas along the International Border in Samba and Kathua districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

On May 15, a 28-year-old BSF jawan was killed as Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire by opening fire on forward posts to help infiltrators cross the International Border in Samba sector. Troops have also foiled four infiltration bids along the IB since May 12.

However, there was a lull in the shelling in Kathua and Samba districts today, on Friday.

"There was no firing and shelling from across the border since yesterday in Kathua and Samba districts", the officer said.

Compensation will not bring my husband back, says slain soldier's wife

The wife of Sitaram Upadhyay, the soldier who lost his life in ceasefire violation, raised questions over the government's decision to announce 'Ramzan ceasefire'.

"India asked security forces not to launch operations during Ramzan but my husband was killed in firing by Pak.What'll happen by offering compensation?It'll not bring back my husband," Upadhyay's wife said.

India asked security forces not to launch operations during Ramzan but my husband was killed in firing by Pak.What'll happen by offering compensation?It'll not bring back my husband: Wife of BSF's Sitaram Upadhyay, who lost his life in ceasefire violation by Pak in J&K's RS Pura

— ANI (@ANI) 18 May 2018

The central government on Wednesday announced a ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir, asking security forces to halt their operations during Ramzan to help "peace loving Muslims" observe the holy month in a peaceful environment.

The announcement, reminiscent of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's similar initiative in 2,000, comes barely two days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Jammu to inaugurate development projects and address the sixth convocation of a university in the winter capital.

A Home Ministry statement said that security forces had been told not to launch operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month that begins on Thursday or Friday subject to the appearance of new moon.

Kashmir ceasefire to hoodwink global community, say separatists

Separatists in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday dubbed the ceasefire announced by the Indian government "a cruel joke on the people of the (Kashmir) Valley".

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), a conglomerate headed by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, met at Geelani's residence to deliberate on the various dimensions of what they called "Operation Halt" announced by the Home Ministry.

A statement issued by the group said: "Operation Halt is a cruel joke with the freedom-loving people of Kashmir engaged in a legitimate movement for right to self-determination."