Srinagar/Islamabad: A 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan on Monday and tremors were felt in the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Rajasthan, as well as in many places in Pakistan, officials said.
The earthquake, which occurred at 3.35 p.m. (India time) at a depth of 210 km, had its epicentre in the Hindu Kush region, an India Meteorological Department official told IANS.
"That was a hell of a tremor. Hope everyone is safe & well," tweeted former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, minutes after the temblor rocked the area.
In Srinagar, people fled out of their homes and offices in panic. Some of them began praying as the tremors shook buildings. Anxious people called up their relatives and enquired about their well-being.
The US Geological Survey, however, measured the intensity of the quake at 5.9. It said the epicentre of the temblor was 34 km west-southwest of Ashkasham in Afghanistan, and 287 km northeast of Kabul.
In Srinagar, a top official said there were no reports of any casualties nor any damage to property from anywhere in Jammu and Kashmir.
"The epicentre was in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan at a depth of 210 km. The earthquake occurred at 3.35 p.m.," local Met office director Sonam Lotus told IANS in Srinagar.
Geologically, Kashmir is situated in a highly vulnerable earthquake zone, where earthquakes have caused devastation in the past. On October 8, 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.6 killed more than 40,000 people in both parts of Kashmir in India and Pakistan.
In Islamabad, officials told Dunya News that the earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale jolted most parts of the country
The National Seismic Monitoring Centre said tremors were felt in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Shangla, Buner, Lower Dir, Mardan, Charsadda, Peshawar, Swat, Muzaffarabad, Attock, Wazirabad, Daska, Sheikhpura, Gujrat, Khushab, Murree, Khyber Agency, Malakand, Sargodha, Nowshera, Bhalwal, Bagh, Rawlakot, Skardu, Gilgit and Chitral, among other areas.
The earthquake caused panic among the people, but no casualty or damage was reported from any part of the country.
Ghulam Rasool, a meteorologist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department, told Dunya News that the quake occurred at a depth of 208 km with its epicentre located near the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border region.