55 killings in cross-border firing make 2018 deadliest in recent years

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New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) At least 55 people, including 27 army and BSF personnel, have been killed in the first six months of this year in cross-border firing — making it the deadliest in recent years for civilians as well as security forces manning the international border and the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

The dead included 15 soldiers, 12 BSF personnel and 28 civilians, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The over all number is almost double than in 2016 when the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes and destroyed dozens of terror launch hubs in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

“No personnel of J&K police got killed in the incidents of ceasefire violations and cross border firing during the last three years and current year upto June,” he said.

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Detailing the number of deaths in the last three years, the minister said 26 people — six soldiers, four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel and 16 civilians — were killed in 2015.

In 2016, firing from the Pakistani side again claimed 26 lives — eight soldiers, five BSF troopers and 13 civilians.

Thirty one people — 15 soldiers, four BSF personnel and 12 civilians — were killed in 2017.

The details of militants killed along the LoC and the international border are: 108 in 2015, 150 in 2016, 213 in 2107 and 110 up to July 22 this year.

“Appropriate retaliation to these ceasefire violations has been carried out wherever necessary. During ceasefire violations, the inhabitants of border villages which are vulnerable to shelling or firing are shifted to safer locations to prevent any loss of life,” the minister said.

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“All arrangements are made for free boarding, lodging, medicare, water, electricity, food, sanitation and transport to safer places in such cases. The defences along the border are adequately fortified to withstand fire. Continuous improvements, including the usage of modern technology, in the defences are made to make them more robust and resilient.

–IANS

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