- Govt closes all schools close to border, LoC
- Only three bullet-proof vehicles to evacuate 15,000 residents in Kathua
An army man, a border guard and two civilians were were killed and 26 others injured in cross border firing along the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu province on Friday.
The cross-border firing started mid night and it again resumed during early morning along the IB in Arnia and R S Pura sectors. Later, Hiranagar and Samba sectors also witnessed intense cross-border firing and shelling.
“The firing started at around 6:30 am in R S Pura sector and Pak Rangers targeted all the civilian areas using mortar shells,” said a nomad from Jora Form in RS Pura.
Form is located close to the IB.
The nomad alleged that his brother was wounded in Pak shelling after a mortar exploded near their house, partially damaging it.
The injured civilian was evacuated amid heavy shelling by the relatives and his condition is stated to be stable and out of danger. Atleast 18 civilians were injured in Arnia and RS Pura sector in cross-border firing and two of them succumbed to injuries.
“Sahil Kumar, 25, alias Johny R/o Kortana village in R S Pura sector and a 50-year-old woman Bachno Devi wife of Jeet Raj R/o of Saikhurd in Arnia succumbed to injuries,” an official said.
In Samba sector, a BSF man was killed and two others injured in Pakistani troops firing and shelling.
“The mortar shell hit a BSF post at Chillyari in Samba sector killing the BSF man Head Constable Jagpal Singh and injuring two others,” a BSF official said.
Three civilian were also wounded in Ramgarh sector at village Malsha.
“All schools in Ramgarh sector were closed by authorities,” an official said.
“We have shifted 80 percent border residents to safer places using moving bunkers,” ADC Jammu Arun Manhas told Kashmir Post.
Another officer said all the schools close to International Border from RS Pura, Arnia, Samba to Hiranagar have been closed.
He said relief camps in government buildings have also been established in safer places for the border residents.
When the cross-border firing stopped, people in large numbers shifted from Arnia and RS Pura to lodgement centres, established by the government or to their relative’s houses in the town.
The market in Arnia and RS Pura wore a deserted look and people were running for their lives.
In Hiranagar (Kathua), sources said, nine civilians suffered injuries and five of them were nomads which included two women.
Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, Rohit Khajuria told Kashmir Post that all the villages in Hiranagar have come under heavy fire.
However, fortunately there were no serious injuries.
“We have established camps for the border migrants. The administration is monitoring the situation. We have already provided food to 140 people, who have abandoned their houses and came to a camp established at a government school. However, there is no major migration,” Khajuria said.
He said administration has established six camps for border residents.
Meanwhile, an army man was killed in Pakistani troops firing in Sunderbani area of Rajouri district.
“Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms and mortars from 1.30 pm in Sunderbani sector along the LoC. The Indian Army also retaliated strongly and effectively,” defence spokesman said.
He said in the exchange of fire, Lance Naik Sam Abraham, 34, was grievously injured and succumbed to injuries later.
Sources said a civilian identified as Suddam Hussain S/o Mohammad Iqbal was injured in the Pakistani troops shelling in village Dabi of Balakote tehsil of Rajouri.
He has been hospitalised. Deputy Commissioner Rajouri, Shahid Iqbal said the ongoing cross-LoC firing and mortar shelling has forced the district administration to close all government and private schools as a precautionary measure in Nowshera sector. He said the schools would remain closed for three days. Reports said Pakistani army also fired on army positions and civilian areas in Noweshera, Manjakote , Balakote and Mankote sectors in twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, causing fear psychosis among the border residents.
Meanwhile, As Pakistan continues to rain bullets and mortar shells, people of over 22 villages residing along the International Border (IB) in the Hiranagar sector have started migrating to safer places with little or no help from the administration.
Over 15,000 people in 22 villages fall in the range of Pakistani guns, but the administration has deputed only three bullet-proof vehicles to evacuate border residents who have described it as “a cruel joke” with them.
During heavy firing by Pakistan today, residents of Bobiya, Pansar, Paharpur, Patti Neru and Manyari border hamlets in the Hiranagar sector spent over five hours in panic due to lack of coordination among various district administration agencies, including the police.
Villagers were seen fleeing to safer areas with their families. A specially abled woman of Pansar village was spotted fleeing on a wheelchair along with her children.
The International Border from Paharpur to Londi in Hiranagar has seen numerous incidents of cross-border firing but the administration has been relying on only three bullet-proof vehicles to evacuate people.
“Recently, we put forth our demand of more bullet-proof vehicles when the Deputy Commissioner was touring border areas,” said Bharat Bushan, a former sarpanch of Bobiya village.
He said that in absence of bullet-proof vehicles, people had no option but to risk their lives and move to safer places on their own.
“Nine people of Pansar village received injuries in Pakistan firing around 9 am today, but the administration sent a bullet-proof vehicle at 2 pm to evacuate the injured. It seems that for the government, the lives of border villagers do not matter,” said Nishant Sharma, a border villager.
The continuous firing by Pakistan has paralysed the normal life in the border villages and people are moving to safer places.
Locals said the ailing, old and children were facing more difficulties due to firing and cold weather.
The Pakistan Rangers also fired on civilian areas at Ranbir Singh Pura area in Jammu district, keeping people on tenterhooks. The BSF, however, gave them a befitting reply. As the intensity of firing and shelling increased this morning, people were seen fleeing their homes for safer places.
“It is not wise to wait and get killed by a shell. Nobody wants to leave their home, but in these circumstances, saving life becomes a priority,” said Janak Raj, a resident of Arnia town along the International Border.
The Arnia and Ranbir Singh Pura sectors of Jammu district, Ramgarh and Samba sectors of Samba district and the Hiranagar sector of Kathua district have been witnessing heavy shelling from Pakistan since Friday morning.
The Arnia and Ranbir Singh Pura sectors of Jammu district, Ramgarh and Samba sectors of Samba district and the Hiranagar sector of Kathua district have been witnessing heavy shelling since Friday morning
As the intensity of firing and shelling increased, people were seen fleeing their homes for safer places. Several houses have been damaged in shelling
Residents of Bobiya, Pansar, Paharpur, Patti Neru and Manyari border hamlets in the Hiranagar sector spent over five hours in panic due to lack of coordination among various district administration agencies