NEW DELHI: The Indian Army’s Northern Command has said it has not asked residents of villages along the Line of Control to vacate their villages. The Army’s assertion came to refute a viral post that said so. The misinformation comes in the middle of a prolonged on LoC-wide spate of unprovoked ceasefire violations by Pakistan, according to Army sources.
The Army’s clarification was forces by a report on a Hindi website that went viral because it had been picked up without verification by a prominent Chinese browser-based news aggregator service.
The Jammu and Kashmir police had earlier in the day sounded a red alert across the LoC zone, thanks to the incessant shelling in multiple sectors by Pakistani forces. Such shelling is usually a cover to infiltrate terrorists across the LoC.
The J&K police advisory said, “Villages on the border area of Jammu province are dark and deserted. The area is being continuously shelled. The people fled to safety. Innocents are being killed for no fault of theirs. No doubt, in the present scenario, the situation is sensitive, the government is alert and things are taken care of at the government level. All the Army, BSF and Police and other forces are fully prepared to deal with but any eventuality but firing is still going on.”
The advisory asked residents to keep the lights off in their villages, to avoid becoming easy targets for the Pakistani shelling. It also appealed to locals to not share the locations, deployment strengths of Indian personnel or any other details on any local instant messaging groups.
Locals have also been advised to conserve rations.
An earlier PTI report said authorities closed about 300 schools and other educational institutions along IB and LoC in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Rajouri and Poonch for next three days in wake of exchange of shelling and firing.
A BSF officer said over 35,000 people living along the International Border have migrated to safer places and most of them have been camping in houses of relatives.
As many as 10 persons, including 6 civilians and 4 jawans, were killed and nearly 60 including some jawans were injured in the shelling during the past two days. On Friday, two civilians and two jawans were killed and 35 others, including three jawans, injured in heavy mortar shelling by Pakistan troops on civilian areas and outposts along the IB and LoC in Jammu, Samba, Kathua and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
On Wednesday, a BSF jawan and a teenaged girl were killed and 8 others injured in Samba and Jammu districts.
(With PTI inputs)