SIALKOT - With no let-up in ceasefire violations by New Delhi, Indian forces again shelled Pakistani villages on Monday along the Sialkot Working Boundary, killing a man and injuring eight others critically.

Two soldiers of Chenab Rangers were among the injured. Senior officials of the Chenab Rangers said a local cobbler Muhammad Latif, 65, of village Bajrah Garhi Sialkot was going to say his morning prayer in a local mosque when mortar shells fired by the Indian BSF hit him. The mortar shells broke apart his both legs and an arm. He was taken to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Sialkot where he succumbed to injuries. On August 23 (two days ago), his house was destroyed in Indian shelling.

Officials of the Chenab Rangers also confirmed that their two soldiers Muhammad Azam and Muhammad Iqbal were injured seriously by intensified Indian shelling in Chaprar Sector along Sialkot Working Boundary on Monday.

Six other persons, Saleem, Iqbal, Nasir, Sakeena Bibi, Bashir Ahmed and Ghulam Hussain were also injured seriously by Indian shelling in Dhamaal, Meendarwal, Khadraal and Beeni villages.

All the injured were shifted to CMH Sialkot, where the condition of all of these injured was stated to be critical.

According to officials of the Chenab Rangers, the Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) on Monday shelled Sialkot border villages including Sucheetgarh, Thathi, Meendarwal, Umraanwali, Chak Sokha, Bajrah Garhi, Anula, Charwah, Chaprar, Beeni, Khadraal, Harnaawali, Sali, Wallaaney, Nandpur, Kaseerey, Rangpur Jattan, Raja Harpal, Dhamaal, Salehpur, Jhumiyaan, Surakhpur, Chaprar,  Patwaal , Joiyaan Thathi Khurd and Thathi Kalan in Bajwat, Sucheetgarh, Harpal, Charwah, Chaprar and Meirajkey sectors for nine hours.

The senior officials of the Chenab Rangers said that Indian Border Security Force(BSF) again targeted the civil population with their heavy shelling, adding that BSF used light machine guns(LMGs) and heavy machine guns(HMGs). The Chenab Rangers retaliated instantly and silenced the Indian guns.

Local MNA Ch Armughan Subhani visited the shelling-hit border villages and expressed complete solidarity with the local people. He added that Pakistan had lodged a strong protest with India over the continuous ceasefire violations by Indian forces.

It was the 24th major incident of unprovoked firing on Sialkot border villages during the present month.

BJP threatens flare–up

Monitoring desk adds: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah said Monday that India would give a “befitting reply” to Pakistan over a spike in ceasefire violations, said a report published on The Times of India (TOI).

“Home minister Rajnath Singh has clearly said that if Pakistan resorts to firing, we will definitely give a befitting reply to them,” Shah said.

The BJP president is on a visit to the R S Pura area of Jammu where he is expected to meet villagers who are living close to the international border in the state.

He assured villagers that the BJP government would look into their problems, particularly those who had been displaced after partition in the 1947 and the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan

During his visit, Shah said that he could not guarantee voting rights to those who were seeking refuge here from the other side of the border.

He said they could not take a call on voting rights and that it was the call of the Jammu and Kashmir state government.

He also expressed hope that the BJP would form the next state government in Jammu & Kashmir.

On Sunday, India’s army clashed with suspected militants in Indian-held Kashmir near the disputed border with Pakistan, leaving two soldiers and four rebels dead, an Indian military official said Sunday. Indian soldiers encountered the militants, who are believed to have crossed the de facto border into Indian-occupied Kashmir’s Keran sector, some 150 kilometres northwest of the main city of Srinagar on Saturday night, the official said.

“In the resultant exchange of fire between army and terrorists, one soldier was injured who succumbed later (to his injuries),” defence spokesman Colonel NN Joshi said.  Another soldier and four suspected militants were killed early on Sunday in a separate counter-insurgency operation in a nearby forested area of Kalaroos, Joshi said. “Fighting is over in the area and identification of the four killed (militants) was not ascertained yet,” Joshi told AFP, confirming the soldiers died in the firing.

The violence comes after India last week called off high-level talks with Pakistan, scheduled to take place in Islamabad, angry that Pakistani officials had met with Kashmiri leaders in New Delhi.

Pakistan described the cancellation of the talks between the foreign secretaries as a “setback” for closer relations with India’s new right-wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Saturday, Indian and Pakistani forces exchanged fire along the border further south in the region of Jammu, resulting in five deaths and forcing villagers to flee their homes.

Two civilians were killed on the Indian side of the international border when Pakistani forces opened fire, according to Indian officials. On the other side, three Pakistani civilians were killed by Indian fire, Pakistan’s military said.

Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said Sunday there had been a series of recent “provocations” by Pakistan’s army and India’s military was “responding adequately”.

Jaitley told reporters that security forces were “fully protecting both our territory and people”.