Senior BSF officer killed in blast near Jammu (Fourth lead)

Jammu, Nov 16 ( Border Security Force (BSF) Deputy Inspector General (DIG) O.P. Tanwar was killed and two of his security guards and driver were injured Monday in a landmine explosion triggered close to an India-Pakistan border post in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. Militant group Al Madina claimed responsibility for the attack.

Tanwar had gone to inspect Balad post, nearly 45 km southwest of Jammu, to verify details of a reported incursion bid from Pakistan when his vehicle was blown up by a powerful explosion triggered by an improvised explosive device (IED).

A man, identifying himself as Shikari Baba, a spokesman of the little-known Al Madina organisation, called up a local representative of an international media organisation and owned responsibility for carrying out the attack.

He said that the landmine was planted by them and triggered when the BSF officer visited the spot. “We also fired at the border post in which at least four people were killed,” he claimed.

“This is a very tragic incident that has happened where the BSF has lost a very fine and dedicated officer,” said Inspector General of BSF (Jammu frontier) A.K. Saroolia.

“The suspected infiltration bid had taken place late Sunday night,” he added.

BSF troopers had sighted some movement of infiltrators and fired at them. The suspected infiltrators retaliated and later fled the scene, Saroolia said.

Tanwar’s personal security officers, identified as Sham Lal and Sanjay Kumar, and his driver have been admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital here.

Asked about the possibility of the landmine being planted by infiltrators and triggered when officials visited the spot, Saroolia said: “It is being investigated and we can say anything for certain only after the investigations are complete.”

Jammu and Kashmir has a 198-km international border with Pakistan in Jammu division.

The BSF has sent patrol parties with mine detecting devices to ascertain if there are more IEDs planted along the border. The BSF and the army have cordoned off the area and searches are under way, officials said.