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Cross-LoC travel suspended amid Pak shelling in Poonch

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jammu: The Poonch-based cross-border Trade Facilitation Centre was damaged and the cross-LoC travel had to be suspended today due to heavy shelling by Pakistan, which triggered a sharp reply from the Indian troops.

The Pakistani troops resumed the heavy mortar shelling and automatic weapon firing at 0640 hours today after a lull of the ceasefire violation that began yesterday, targeting the Indian posts and civilian areas near the Line of Control, said the defence spokesperson.

"There was unprovoked firing by Pakistan Army in Poonch sector from 0640 hours today with 82 mm mortars and automatic weapons," said the defence spokesman adding the Pakistani onslaught was "befittingly" responded to.

"The Army took position and responded befittingly and an intermittent firing is on presently," he said adding there has been no casualty on our side.

Summing up the effect of Pakistani shelling, a senior district administration officer said, "The travel on cross-LoC Poonch-Rawlakote bus service was suspended today as precaution due to the shelling by Pakistani troops."

Officer said the shelling also damaged the two-storey administrative block of Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) at Chakan-Da-Bagh area along LoC in Poonch, necessitating evacuation of the TFC officials to safety.

Today's cease-fire breach is the second in the last 20 hours and the third one in four days.

The Pakistani troops started 82 mm mortar shelling yesterday in Krishnagati sector along LoC in Poonch district. On March 9, Army jawan Deepak Jagannath Ghadge was martyred in an indiscriminate and unprovoked firing by when Pakistani soldiers at about 2 PM on Indian posts along the Line of Control in Poonch sector.

Centre to give 'befitting' reply to ceasefire violations: MoS PMO
Following ceasefire violations by Pakistan troops, Union Minister Jitendra Singh today said the people should trust the Modi government that it will give a "befitting" response to such acts.

"The concerned agencies will take into cognisance the chain of events that has taken place and you should trust the Modi government to give a befitting response," Singh told reporters here replying to questions about ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces.

In a second instance of ceasefire violation in less than 24 hours, Pakistani troops today had resorted to mortar shelling and firing by automatic weapons along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, which prompted the army to retaliate.

"Indian government and security agencies are capable of meeting any kind of challenge and you will see the results in days to come," Singh, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), said.

The minister chose not answer questions on handing over of two boys from PoK to Pakistani authorities after the NIA dropped charges of conspiracy in the Uri terror strike.

"I am not able to reply to such sensitive issues which has security ramifications and concerned agencies have to deal with this," Singh said.

Under detention for nearly six months, the two boys were handed over to Pakistani authorities after the probe agency NIA came to a conclusion that they had strayed into the Indian side after a tiff with their parents due to pressure of studies.

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