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Sneak-in bid across border

Srinagar, May 9: The Border Security Force last night foiled an infiltration bid on the international border in Jammu, the first such attempt this year.

Infiltration across the Line of Control is routine, but it rarely takes place on the international border (IB).

J.B. Sangwan, BSF deputy inspector-general, Jammu frontier, said the incident occurred at 10.40pm. Around 10 militants had crossed the border and were advancing towards the fencing in the Samba sector when BSF troops spotted them.

“Our ambush party detected some suspicious movement near the bund at the IB. As soon as the militants were detected, they fired at our troops with AK assault rifles and lobbed grenades,” he said. “We retaliated and the firing continued for some time.”

But there was no loss of life as the militants were pushed back. About 450 empty cartridges of the assault rifles were found at the spot.

The infiltration bid comes as high-level talks are on between India and Pakistan. Foreign minister Pranab Mukerjee is slated to visit Islamabad soon to meet his counterpart and take the stalled dialogue process ahead.

BSF sources said the Pakistani Rangers (border guards) had helped the militants sneak into Jammu. “The Pakistani Rangers provided the militants with a covering fire, which is a clear violation of ceasefire,” said a senior BSF officer.

But the BSF DIG disagreed, perhaps in view of India and Pakistan’s renewed attempts to bring the stalled talks back on track.

“We can’t say it is a ceasefire violation by the Pakistani rangers,” Sangwan said. The ceasefire has been in place since November 2003.

But, he added, the BSF lodged a verbal protest with the Pakistani Rangers at a flag meeting at the Bangalard border outpost this morning. A written complaint would be lodged later.

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