Pakistani forces targeted at least 24 Indian posts in Jammu overnight, resorting to heavy firing that sparked panic among residents in villages along the border.
The Indian Border Security Force (BSF) retaliated as the ceasefire violation continued, with firing by the Pakistani Rangers being reported from Jammu’s Kathua district, especially Hiranagar, and Samba.
There were reports that over 400 families have migrated from the border villages.Over a dozen cattle have perished in these areas.
“It (the firing) continued till 5. 00am on Friday...,” said BSF Jammu frontier DIG Dharmender Pareekh.
An official said Pakistan used small arms, automatics, 82mm mortars and 120mm mortars in the firing and shelling.
Heavy firing was also reported in Rajouri district --- namely Nowshera, Pallanwala and Sunderbani sectors --- in the morning.
“This has never happened before, such heavy firing from Pakistan...Everyone is so scared,” a resident of Rajouri told news agency ANI.
Rajouri station house officer Mohd Younis Choudhary said: “We are ready...(we) don’t want any casualties. This is heavy shelling. (We) have asked locals to stay indoors.”
BSF’s Pareekh said some Pakistani posts and villages were believed to have received heavy losses in India’s retaliatory fire.
Except for minor injuries to a girl, there were no adverse reports on our side, he said.
Relations between the neighbours hit a new low after four militants attacked an Indian Army base in northern Kashmir’s Uri in September, killing 19 soldiers. India blamed Pakistan-based militants for the assault, a charge Islamabad promptly denied.
Later in that month, India said it carried out “surgical strikes ” on militant hideouts across the Line of Control, the de facto border between the two countries.
On Thursday evening too, the Pakistani army fired bullets and mortar shells relentlessly at multiple Indian frontier villages along the border in Jammu and Kashmir, triggering a war-like situation in those areas.
Skirmishes are common along this border, but the attack intensified after Indian troops killed a Pakistan Rangers soldier in retaliatory action against heavy overnight shelling in the RS Pura and Arnia sectors of the international border.
A BSF soldier too was killed on Thursday in firing by Pakistani troops in Abdullian area of RS Pura sector in Jammu district --- the third such death of a border force personnel within a week since skirmishes erupted.
(With agency inputs)