Pakistan firing forces villagers to flee border hamlets

With Pak troops pounding civilian areas with mortar shells & heavy firing, villagers living along Indo-Pak border have been forced to flee their homes.

Samba Border: With Pakistani troops pounding civilian areas with mortar shells and heavy firing, villagers living along the Indo-Pak border have been forced to flee their homes to safer places.

"We sent our women, children and elderly people to a safer place in tractor trolleys during the night in view of blistering attacks of mortars bombs and heavy firing," Om Prakash of border hamlet Suchetgarh-Kulian said.

Pakistani troops had pounded 14 forward posts and civilian areas in Jammu frontier with mortar shells and fired automatic and small arms round-the-clock on Friday and Saturday.

Suchetgarh-Kulian, Najwal (Pargwal) and Nikowal border belts along the 190-km-long International Border in Samba district were worst hit areas among forward belts in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts, where Pakistan troops opened fire.

Kulian became a battleground for foiling an infiltration bid on Saturday, killing a Pakistani intruder.

Women, children and elderly persons of nearly 52 families of Suchetgarh-Kulian border belt fled their homes and took shelter in a community centre at Rakhambh Tali (Kali Bari) around 10 PM yesterday, Prakash said.

However, male members of the families went back to take care of domestic animals and their homes, he said.

There were also reports of migration of children and women of 17 families of Najwal village in Pargwal belt in Jammu, which five people, including three children, were injured in Pak firing.

However, Divisional Commissioner Shant Manu dismissed reports of migration.
"People are panicking due to border firing. As a result, they had sent their women and children to safer area in community centre in Samba district. There is no migration as such," Manu said.

The people housed in the community centre returned late in the afternoon today as there was no firing, he said.

However, Manu said a contingency plan has been put in place in view of the increase in ceasefire violations and all community centres and other government buildings have been kept ready to house people in case of any exigency.

The number of ceasefire violations has increased several fold this year as Pakistani troops violated border truce nearly 130 times along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, the highest in the last eight years.

Seven persons were killed and 24 others injured in border firing and attacks on forward posts along the LoC and the IB in Jammu and Kashmir since August 1 this year.