Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat has stated that Pakistan is “responsible” for avalanches in Jammu and Kashmir, media reports said.
The death toll from avalanches in the Himalayan region of Kashmir has risen to 20 over the last week after five more Indian soldiers succumbed to their injuries on Monday. All these five soldiers were rescued from heavy snow in the Machhil sector on Saturday.
According to Gen Rawat, Pak shell firing is causing the avalanches.
While addressing a ceremony, Rawat said that usage of heavy weaponry and cross-border firing by Pakistan Army are causing avalanches in the valley. “Heavy weaponry firing by Pakistani is leading to loosening of the soil which causes landslides,” he reportedly said after paying homage to Major Amit Sagar, who lost his life in an avalanche in Sonamarg on January 25.
Indian Occupied Kashmir is witnessing heavy snow falling since last few days as many Indian soldiers have died and bodies of few are yet to be recovered. “21 persons including 15 army men have died in these avalanches,” he said.
Indian Army chief further reportedly said that Indian army is seeking help from Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment, a laboratory under the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to conduct a study of avalanche areas in the valley so that troops can be withdrawn from the dangerous areas.
“But due to hostile condition and vulnerability of some posts, the retreat will limited,” he added.