JAMMU: Indo-Pak tension and ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC) today escalated further as an Indian Army jawan was martyred and civilian injured in Pakistani shelling in Mankote sector while in retaliation five Pakistani troops were killed across Bhimber Gali sector of Poonch district early this morning even as there was no let up in ceasefire violations by Pakistan in parts of Rajouri and Poonch districts.

Officials told the Excelsior that five Pakistan army personnel were killed and couple of others were injured in Indian retaliation across Bhimber Gali sector of Poonch district early today. The Indian retaliation was necessitated amid heavy shelling and firing by the Pakistani troops with a view to push trained militants into the Indian territory.

There has been surge in infiltration attempts by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants with active support of Pakistan army at various places on the LoC. Few days back, three infiltrators were killed in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district while days later another militant, who was reportedly part of an infiltrated group, was killed in Kalakote.

There have been repeated infiltration attempts in Mendhar, Balakote and Nowshera sectors which have been thwarted by the alert troops.

Confirming killing of at least five Pakistan army personnel in the Indian retaliatory action, sources said the militants whose infiltration was being facilitated by the troops from across LoC retreated after firing and shelling on the LoC. The militants were stationed at two launching pads across Bhimber Gali sector.

However, in Mankote sector of Poonch district, an Indian Army soldier was martyred in Pakistan shelling and firing.

The martyr has been identified as Naik Gurcharan Singh hailing from village Harchowal in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

“Naik Gurcharan Singh was a brave, highly motivated and a sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” a Defence spokesperson said.

Body of the martyr has been sent to his native town with full military honours.

A civilian was also injured in Pakistan shelling in Mankote.

Pakistan shelling in Mankote, Balakote and Mendhar sectors lasted sometime last midnight. The Indian Army retaliated effectively at all the places, leading to heavy exchanges.

Several mortar shells landed near houses of the civilians causing damage to them. Some cattle also perished in Pakistani shelling. There was panic among the border dwellers on the LoC following intensified shelling and firing by the Pakistan army at various places. People even during the day mostly remained confined to the bunkers and houses and didn’t venture out for daily routine work as the Pakistan army was directly targeting civilian areas during shelling and firing.