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Uncovered: mines in Poonch

Srinagar, Jan. 16: The Indian Army today showcased photographic evidence of anti-personnel mines with Pakistani markings allegedly planted on the Indian side of the Line of Control in Poonch, the ground zero of fresh cross-border hostilities.

One of the three photographs released shows a landmine with markings of POF (Pakistan ordnance factory) and SGO, (interpreted as Sargodha) the place in Pakistan where the ordnance factory may be located.

The second photograph shows the spots where the mines were planted on walking/pony tracks. The third shows an exposed portion of a mine.

Sources said there had been a spurt in anti-personnel mine explosions close to the LoC in the Poonch sector in recent weeks. Several army and BSF personnel have been injured.

The army has seized some of these mines, possibly planted to restrict the movement of troops on the Indian side of the LoC and facilitate the sneak-in of militants.

These mines have become the latest worry for security forces battling repeated ceasefire violations along the LoC. Since Monday’s brigadier-level flag-meeting between India and Pakistan, there have been five instances of violation.

The Northern Command chief, Lt Gen. K.T. Parnaik, said the photographic evidence on the mines was presented before Pakistani brigadier F. Faisal on Monday.

“He (Pakistani brigadier) took the photos of mines and after a brief thought returned (them). They did not challenge or disagree. They were adamant and arrogant,” he claimed.

Lt Gen. Parnaik alleged that the Pakistan Army had been sending militants to plant mines and snipe at Indian soldiers. “This area (Krishna Ghati and Nangi Takri in Poonch) was captured by us in 1971. It guards the main approach from the Poonch river. It has been one of the biggest disadvantages (for them) after the 1971 war.

“Secondly, their side of the area has got jungles and our side… as they climb up is barren. So they have been sending terrorists to plant mines and to snipe,” he claimed.

Army officials said several soldiers were injured after they stepped on the mines, the latest case reported in Krishna Ghati sector in Poonch on January 7.

A soldier of 3 Grenadiers lost a limb in an explosion, a day before two Indian soldiers were killed during a Pakistan army raid in Mendhar.

Another soldier of the same unit, Lance Naik Sanjeev Singh, was wounded after stepping on a mine last month while patrolling in the area.

Last month, a BSF officer suffered grave injuries in a similar explosion.