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BSF trooper killed in border firing

Jammu, May 15: A Border Security Force (BSF) personnel was killed in cross-border firing along the International Border (IB) in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The incidents of firing between the two countries comes barely four days ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the state, and also ended months of lull in the border skirmishes along the IB, which saw heavy firing and shelling earlier this year. ”Pakistani troops, as per a defence official, fired on forward posts in the Manguchak area around 11.30 pm Monday night and was effectively retaliated by the soldier guarding the IB,” the officer said seeking anonymity.
He said heavy firing between the two sides continued for an hour during which Constable Devender Singh was hit by a stray bullet through the loophole of his picket.
He was immediately evacuated to a hospital but could not survive, a BSF officer said.
He said intermittent firing between the two sides was still continuing when last reports were received.
The incident came barely 24 hours after BSF noticed suspicious movement of a group of five persons, believed to be militants and attempting to sneak into this side, along the IB in Hiranagar sector of nearby Kathua district, prompting a massive search operation and sounding of a high alert in Jammu.
Army also pressed helicopters into service during the search operation which entered the second day today, the official said.
Singh’s death took the number of persons killed in over 700 incidents of Pakistani shelling along the IB and Line of Control (LoC) in the state — highest this year — to 33. The deceased included 17 security personnel.
Prime Minister is scheduled to arrive in Jammu and Kashmir on May 19.
There has been a lull in firing along the IB over the past three months after intense border skirmishes in January and February, which led to many casualties and forced civilians to flee their homes.
However, the frequent ceasefire violation by Pakistan was going on along the LoC.