Union home Rajnath Singh on Monday warned Islamabad to mend its ways and stop firing at Indian posts and villages along the 744 km long Line of Control and 198- km long International Border in Jammu and Kashmir.
Singh’s warning followed the latest ceasefire violation by the Pakistani army in Shahpur Kerni sector of Poonch district in the morning.
Addressing displaced border villagers at a relief camp in Nowshera town in Rajouri district, Singh said that he had told the BSF DG in 2014 that “we shouldn’t fire first but if they (Pakistani forces) fire even a single bullet then there should be no count of bullets from our side.”
He was accompanied by Union minister Jitendra Singh and Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh.
“The situation has improved from what it was in 2014 after security forces were authorised to retaliate strongly. It will improve further in the days to come. Pakistan has no option but to stop ceasefire violations today or tomorrow. I assure all of you that situation will improve in the coming days,” he said.
Singh said he had told the director general of border-guarding force Pakistan Ranger in 2015 that Pakistan was resorting to firing violating certain protocols which should be respected and followed.
“India today is not a weak country anymore. It is a changed country under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi. The world today has started acknowledging India as a force to reckon with. India’s image has changed across the world today,” he asserted.
Nowshera is the place from where the Indian army had launched its surgical strikes on September 29 last year on terror launch pads in Bhimber Gali area across the LoC.
But since May this year, over 4000 people have been displaced from several villages along the LoC in Nowshera sector following several ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces.
These displaced people have been living in six relief camps. During their interaction with Singh, the migrants demanded that “bunkers” be set up at their homes along the LoC.
“Our first and foremost demand is that the government should set up bunkers in each of the border houses if we have to live again along the LoC. We need bunkers more than food,” Jangarh resident Parshottam Kumar, the president of the Border Migrants Coordination Committee, told Singh.
The home minister heaped praise on the border villagers describing them “strategic assets” of the country.
“Though no amount of money can ever compensate a human life, it was our government that raised the ex-gratia to the next of kin of those who die in Pakistani firing from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Those with more than 50% disability are also entitled for RS 5 lakh compensation,” he said.
Rajnath Singh said that the country was indebted to the border residents. He said he would ensure that 60% posts were kept reserved for the youth of border areas in recruitment drive for various central police and paramilitary forces.
The home minister began a four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on September 9 as part of an exercise to find solutions to the problems that the state faces.