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J-K Uri: Guns silent on Sunday, but jittery LoC villagers still fleeing homes

The number of people migrating from the villages after heavy shelling for a week has crossed 1,000.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2018 21:21 IST
Abhishek Saha
Abhishek Saha
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Uri,Jammu and Kashmir,J&K
Army personnel take positions in Uri near LoC in north Kashmir on Monday. (PTI File Photo)

No shelling from the Pakistani side was experienced in villages near the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s Uri on Sunday, but villagers, scared that the firing will resume, continued to move to rehabilitation camps in safer zones, officials said.

Officials manning four such camps said the number of people migrating out of their villages after intermittent firing for a week had crossed 1,000. While nearly 800 people are staying in the makeshift camps, the rest are putting up with relatives in Uri. People have been moving out from Chirunda, Silikote, Mothal Hathlanga, Soura, Balkote, and Tilawari villages.

More than 200 people from these villages moved to safer locations on Sunday, according to the officials. Firing from across the border has stopped after an intense spell of shelling on Saturday morning. The shelling damaged scores of houses and forced hundreds of people, especially those living in Silikote and Tilawari, to leave their homes.

“People are still migrating because you cannot rule out that shelling and firing will not happen. It has been happening for a week now and can happen again. People are scared,” said Sagar D Doifode, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Uri. “We have to observe for the next two to three days. Our camps will run till the situation improves.”

The camps have been established at the government college, two government higher secondary schools and a town hall in Uri. The district administration has directed government officials manning the four camps to remain close by even at night.

Doifode issued an advisory on Saturday, asking people to remain on the ground floor of their homes, not venture out unnecessarily, and ignore rumours.

Jammu and Kashmir rural development minister Abdul Haq Khan visited the camps on Sunday. “It is our misfortune that two countries are fighting and the people Jammu and Kashmir are bearing the brunt of that. People living on the borders are suffering and getting killed. Children are suffering, their schools are shut. It is important that the two countries talk so that the people of Jammu and Kashmir can be saved from this,” Khan told local mediapersons.

Three civilians were wounded last Monday after Pakistani forces opened fire across the LoC in Uri, and since then there has been intermittent firing.

Last Tuesday, a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan succumbed to injuries sustained in firing by Pakistani forces in Tangdhar area of the frontier Kupwara district.

Pakistan violated the 2003 ceasefire agreement with India 882 times last year along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, according to reports.

India accuses Pakistani soldiers of providing cover firing to help militants cross over and carry out attacks in Kashmir, a charge that Pakistan denies.

First Published: Feb 25, 2018 21:09 IST