2 including minor killed, 4 soldiers among 9 injured as Pakistan pounds Rajouri
Pakistan unleashed a barrage of mortar fire on 35 villages and army posts along the LoC in Rajouri district on Saturday, forcing the administration to start evacuating villagers.india Updated: May 13, 2017 23:13 IST
At least two civilians including a minor girl were killed and nine people, including four soldiers were injured as Pakistan pounded 35 villages and Indian posts with mortars along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Saturday, officials said.
Nowshera, Qila Darhal and Manjakote areas bore the brunt of the shelling.
This was the third ceasefire violation by Pakistan in the past three days.
Four soldiers of the Indian Army’s 48 Rashtriya Rifles suffered injuries in the exchange of fire, and were taken to a garrison hospital, said an intelligence source.
Rajouri deputy commissioner Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said the dead were identified as 51-year-old Haji Tufail Hussain and his relative’s 13-year-old daughter, Asiya Bi.
“The little girl was not his daughter. She had come from Surankote in Poonch to stay with Tufail’s family at Jhangar,” he said.
Tufail’s wife Zaitoon Begum was critically injured and was admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital in Jammu. Among four civilians injured in the day long skirmishes, two have been identified as Rekha Devi and Sonia Kousar of Jhangar.
The deputy commissioner along with senior superintendent of police (SSP) Yougal Manhas and other senior officers from health, animal husbandry, power, and essential services departments rushed to the affected areas to facilitate evacuation.
Choudhary said that he has ordered the closure of 51 schools located along the LoC in Nowshera for an indefinite period. Later in the day, he also ordered the closure of 36 more schools in Dandesar, Doongi and Manjakote which are within 5 km of the LoC, for three days.
Ceasefire violation was reported in Nowshera around 7.30 am on Saturday. Heavy mortar shelling started early morning which went through the day in villages Sarya, Khamba, Bhawani, Kalsian, Mahanpur, Dhanaka, Ganya and Khori, situated within two km from the LoC.
“Overall 26 villages in Nowshera and Qila Darhal Tehsils have been affected while nine villages in Manjakote Tehil of District Rajouri also remained in the line of fire for around three hours,” said Choudhary.
“Heavy shelling during the day hampered our rescue and evacuation process as the road leading to Jhangar was constantly in the line of fire. More than 200 people from various villages have been shifted to various camps established by district administration where facilities of ration, cooking, drinking water, sanitation, first aid and proper accommodation have been provided,” he said and added that two more vehicles carrying around 70 people reached Nowshera taking the number of migrants to 270.
So far three camps have been made operational and 28 others notified in wake of expected migration from affected villages, he said.
A fleet of six buses was inducted into Jhangar areas at 4 pm for evacuating around 400 people. Six ambulances were pressed into action for shifting injured. One mobile medical unit was stationed at Nowshera and another deputed to forward areas.
Choudhary said that a rescue team also came under shelling ahead of Nonial area which led to suspension of rescue operation for around three hours.
Earlier in the day, defence spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said, “Pakistani Army initiated indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatics, 82 mm and 120 mm mortars from 0715 hours along the Line of Control in Nowshera sector.”
The Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively, he said.
Many families from border villages in Nowshera left their homes on Friday following indiscriminate shelling by Pakistani troops.
Meanwhile, Pakistan army’s ISPR (Inter Services Public Relations) alleged that Indian troops committed ceasefire violations at LoC in Karela, Kotkoterra, Khuiratta, Sabzkot, Baroh, Tandar and Khanjar Sectors in which three civilians of Sohana village suffered injuries.