Jammu (Kashmir - J&K), November 23: General Officer Commanding (GOC) 16 Corps, Lt Gen Saranjit Singh said today that Pakistan army has used its civilians as shield and resorted to mortar shelling and firing from civilian areas on their side of Line of Control (LoC) to target Indian villages during recent ceasefire violations.
He charged Pakistan army with using terrorism as weapon towards India and declared that the troops were fully prepared to meet with any kind of situation on the LoC including infiltration attempts as he maintained that large number of militants were waiting at launching pads on Pakistan side of the LoC to infiltrate into the Indian territory.
Speaking to reporters at Poonch on the occasion of ‘Poonch Link-Up Day’ today, Lt Gen Saranjit Singh, who had yesterday met Governor NN Vohra to brief him on the situation prevailing in his area of responsibility, charged Pakistani troops with hiding behind its civilians and using them as shield to target Indian civilian population during ceasefire violations.
“Pakistan army had fired from its civilian areas targeting populated villages on the Indian side,’’ the GOC Nagrota Corps, whose area of responsibility extends right up to twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, said, adding that the Pakistani troops were given very effective reply and they will continue to get befitting response if they resort to firing and shelling in future.
Asserting that this year there had been massive ceasefire violations by Pakistan army, all unprovoked and without any reason, Lt Gen Saranjit Singh said that all provocative acts of Pakistan have been replied with very effectively and forcefully, giving very hard response to Pakistan. “If Pakistan army chooses to violate ceasefire again, we are not going to show any leniency and will hit back aggressively,’’ he said.
It may be mentioned here that during past about a fortnight, there has been lull on the LoC in all forward areas of Poonch and Rajouri districts after about six months of intense mortar shelling and firing by Pakistani troops in which number of troops and civilians were killed and injured while there was losses of cattle and property too. In retaliatory firing by the Indian side, Pakistan army had suffered heavy fatal and non-fatal casualties besides huge infrastructural losses.
Charging Pakistan with using terror as weapon against India, the top Army Commander said there were large number of militants camping at the launch pads on Pakistan side of the LoC waiting to infiltrate into the Indian territory. However, he added, the Indian troops were fully alert and prepared to deal with any kind of infiltration attempts by the militants on the LoC. “No infiltration bid will be allowed to succeed by our troops’’.
Army have reports that Pakistan army could try to facilitate infiltration attempts by the militants into the Indian side under the cover of ceasefire violations on the Line of Control. In view of this, the troops were maintaining strict surveillance on the LoC to ensure that the infiltration bids don’t succeed. Replying to a question on civilians being targeted by Pakistan army during mortar shelling and firing, Lt Gen Saranjit Singh said the bunkers are being constructed for the civilians living within the range of firing.
“The Special Secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs along with civil administration had recently visited forward areas along LoC and International Border and assured the civilians on construction of bunkers for them. The civil administration has also constructed some bunkers, which can be used. The bunkers are proposed to be constructed for the civilians, whose houses fall within the range of Pakistan’s mortar shelling and firing,’’ the General Officer Commanding said.
The Union Home Ministry has set up a Study Group headed by Special Secretary (Internal Security) Rina Mitra comprising top MHA and civil officials of Jammu and Kashmir to study problems of the border dwellers of the State and recommend measures to address their grievances.
Lt Gen Saranjit Singh congratulated the troops and people of Poonch on the ‘Poonch Link-Up Day’ saying the soldiers and civilians had together foiled Pakistan’s evil designs on this day and ensured complete link-up of Poonch with Jammu and Kashmir.