The Pakistani army fired bullets and mortar shells relentlessly at multiple Indian frontier villages along the border in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday evening, triggering a war-like situation in those areas.
The Pakistanis shelled areas along the border in Jammu and 224.5km of the Line of Control, south of the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas. The state shares with Pakistan a 198km international border in Jammu and the LoC — a 740km de-facto border between the two nations — in Kashmir.
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 12-year-old girl and a woman were wounded after mortar shells fired by Pakistani soldiers exploded near their home in Kathua district late on Thursday. Police officer Pawan Parihar said: “We are evacuating people from all forward villages.”
The Pakistanis started unprovoked firing using automatic weapons and 82mm mortars at a number of Indian border outposts of the BSF in Hiranagar and Samba sub-sectors this evening, the BSF’s Jammu frontier DIG, Dharmender Pareekh, said.
Indian posts in Balakote, Mendhar and Mankote sectors of Poonch district also came under heavy fire.
The Pakistanis fired 120mm and 82mm shells in Poonch. More than 50 shells exploded in several villages in Mendhar. In Rajouri district, many houses were reportedly damaged.
A number of soldiers in an army patrol were wounded when Pakistani troops attacked either with a mortar or a grenade from near the barbed-wire fence on the LoC in Jammu in the afternoon, sources said. The wounded were flown in a helicopter to the army’s command hospital in Udhampur.
A BSF personnel died and six people were wounded when Pakistani troops shelled over 15 border outposts and 29 hamlets with mortar overnight in Jammu district. The BSF last Friday claimed to have killed seven Pakistan Rangers soldiers and a militant in the Kathua sector.
Relations between the two countries have hit a low since four terrorists attacked an army base in Uri on September 18, killing 19 soldiers, followed by India’s surgical strikes on militant hideouts in PoK.