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16 villagers injured in mortar shelling by Pakistan along International Border in J-K

Firing began on Monday in Arnia, and has since spread to target RS Pura and Ramgarh in Jammu and Kashmir.

india Updated: May 22, 2018 21:39 IST
Ravi K Khajuria, Hindustan Times, Jammu
Pakistan,India,India Pakistan border
A border village wears a deserted look due to evacuation of residents after heavy shelling from Pakistan side, at Arnia, about 40 km from Jammu, on Monday. (PTI)

The BSF killed two Pakistani Rangers on Tuesday in retaliatory action as Pakistan has spread its arc of fire across the 198 km long International Border from north of Chenab in Akhnoor to Pansar in Kathua district through Monday night.

The latest exchanges, which continued till Tuesday evening, also left three BSF troopers and 16 villagers injured. Two of the injured civilians were reported to be in critical condition.

In the latest firing and shelling by Pakistan Rangers on Indian forward villages along the international border, four civilians - Bhupender Singh, Amandip Singh, Dheerak Kumar and Khushpreet Kaur of Bainglad village in Ramgarh sub-sector in Samba were injured late Tuesday evening.

At least seven villagers including four women were also injured in Keso village of Ramgarh sub sector in Samba district. Mortars exploded in and around the village at around 7 pm.

The injured have been identified as Vikas, Raj Kumar, his wife Bimla Devi, Swarna Devi, Rekha Devi, Manohar Lal and Kamaljit Kour, all residents of Keso village in Ramgarh sector of Samba district.

The seven injured were rushed to government medical college and hospital in Jammu.

The gun-battles, though sporadic and intense at times, continued on Tuesday, affecting a large population in forward villages along the border in the districts of Jammu, Kathua and Samba.

“Two to three BSF jawans have suffered superficial injuries at different locations along the border on Monday and Tuesday. They were hit by flying shards of stones and not shrapnels,” said a senior BSF officer.

He said that Pakistan Rangers, who pleaded for a ceasefire on Saturday and Sunday, apparently to buy time, have been targeting forward villages along the border.

“They are using automatic weapons and mortars. We are retaliating strongly to their unprovoked firing in which at least two Rangers were eliminated opposite Akhnoor sector while three others were injured at separate locations,” he said.

The BSF in its retaliatory fire also blasted a Pak observation tower opposite Arnia sector.

Earlier Tuesday, five injured civilians were identified as Thoru Ram, 68, Vipan Choudhary, both of Raipur Saidan, Sita Devi of Bidipur, Des Raj, 52 of Korotana Khurd in RS Pura sector and Aman Singh, a mentally challenged youth in Bobbiya of Hiranagar sector.

Pakistan resumed fire in Arnia and then spread the arc of fire to RS Pura, Ramgarh, Hiranagar and Akhnoor sectors.

Additional deputy commissioner of Jammu, Dr Arun Manhas said that seven relief camps have been set up in Jammu district where count of villagers swells after dusk.

“At least 90 villages in Jammu district have been affected by Pakistan’s shelling and firing,” he said.

He said that the villagers have been asked to move to safer places.

Majority of the villagers normally fall back to relatives’ houses and few hundred report at the camps in the evening, he said and added that Monday evening 500 people were reported in various camps in RS Pura and Arnia.

All the schools within five km radius of the international border have been closed as a precautionary measure.

On Tuesday, the Pakistan Army opened another front on the LoC in Noorkot sector of Poonch district.

“Pakistan troops opened machine gun fire and also shot mortars from 1 pm to 1.15 pm. There were no adverse reports,” said a police officer.

First Published: May 22, 2018 10:27 IST