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As guns roar along IB, BSF trooper, 4 civilians killed on Indian side

Pakistani and Indian troops traded heavy gunfire and shelling along the international border in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, leaving four civilians including a 17-year-old girl and a Border Security Force (BSF) trooper dead.

The fresh exchange of fire took place a day after Director General (DG) Border Security Force (BSF) said the situation is tense on the border.

Yesterday, a BSF soldier and a minor girl were killed in RS Pura and Arnia sectors.

Pakistan said that two women were killed in “unprovoked” Indian fire and five civilians, including three women were injured.

On Friday morning, the armies of two countries traded heavy gunfire in R S Pura and Ramgarh sectors along the International border.

An official said that Pakistan Rangers violated ceasefire by resorting to indiscriminate firing at Indian positions in several sectors of the international border in Jammu and Samba districts.

“Pakistan initiated heavy fire from RS Pura to Basanter river at about 0640-45 hrs,” a BSF spokesperson said.

“The heavy firing exchanges are going on in the area,” he said, adding “our troops are responding appropriately.”

The official said that three civilians were killed in the firing. The deceased were identified as Kamal Jeet (40), son of Raj Singh; Davinder Singh (33), son of Raj Singh, and Bal Krishan (30), son of Gurcharan Lal — all residents of Suchetgarh, R S Pura.

He said that Head Constable Jagpal Singh of Alpha Coy 173 Bn BSF was wounded and was shifted to District Hospital Samba for treatment. However, doctors declared him dead on arrival.

Reports said that two BSF troopers and 19 civilians were injured during the firing in R S Pura, Arnia in Jammu; Ramgarh, Gagwal in Sambha and Rajbagh in Kathua.

Meanwhile, several police personnel posted close to the International Border (IB) escaped narrowly when shells came flying thick and exploded in the compound of their post in the Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir today.

However, a woman who had come for vacations was injured in shelling, and lost her life.

There was a narrow escape for policemen numbering eight to nine when shells from across the border exploded on the back side of the police post in the Kamore area of IB in Ramgarh sector, a senior police officer told PTI.

The police personnel were sitting on the front side of the post when mortar shells fired by Pakistan exploded near the back wall of the post resulting in splinter hits to the building, he said.

However, 17-year-old Neelam Devi was not as lucky to escape the border shelling.

A resident of Kathua district, Devi, had come to spend a few days of vacation at her maternal home in Pindi in R S Pura when shells exploded close to her causing severe injuries. She later died, officials said.

This is the third exchange of fire between the two countries in this sector in as many days.

Earlier on the intervening night of January 17 and 18, a BSF Head Constable A Suresh and a minor girl Sbeity were killed in the exchange.

Following the tense situation, the administration shut schools located within a five kilometres radius from the border.

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