Shelling by Pakistan: Narrow escape for Gujjars along border

The Gujjar community living here had a close shave with death on Wednesday when Pakistani forces shelled their border hamlet in the morning, injuring six persons.

PTI| Updated: Oct 08, 2014, 19:09 PM IST

Jora Farm: The Gujjar community living here had a close shave with death on Wednesday when Pakistani forces shelled their border hamlet in the morning, injuring six persons.

All the six were rushed to Government Medical College hospital in Jammu for treatment.

About 300-400 milk-supplying Gujjars have deserted their homes in Jora farm since October 5 when Pakistani forces began shelling this hamlet along with 25 other border village settlements in R S Pura-Arnia belt of Jammu district.

Along with their families, they migrate to safe shelters during the night and return to feed the cattle in the morning when the shelling usually stops.

Today morning, the Gujjars had returned to feed their cattle when the shelling happened.

"Our short return home was a close shave with death. As we stepped into the village, Pakistani mortar bombs began to explode here and there inside the hamlet this morning," 32-year-old Bagh Ali told PTI.

"It was a regular practice during the shelling to move to shelter homes in night. During the day, we used to come back back and do our daily chores as Pakistan never fired during the day until today," Shaku, a Gujjar who was hit and injured by a volley of splinters from a mortar shell that exploded at a distance in the Jora Farm, said.

"I and my wife were entering the village along with others. It was an ear-splitting noise of a blast, I fell on the ground and saw myself in blood-stained clothes," he said.

"We had never thought Pakistan was waiting for us. They hit the village right at the time of our arrival," he said.

Shaku's wife Bana Bibi has been critically injured as splinters hit her in arms and legs.

Earlier, on August 23, Pakistani shelling had killed Akram

Hussain and his son Aslam, and injured 3 others in Jora Farm.

"We curse Pakistan for their cowardly act. It's a shame on Pakistan and its armed forces that they are targeting innocent and unarmed people," said Safdar Din.

"Pakistan did not even allow us to celebrate Eid in peace. They shelled a nearby village and killed 5 people there and injured 34 on the day of Eid. It is terrorism. They want to terrorise us and force us out of our homes," Ali said.

He said he will not go home till the shelling comes to an end completely.

Most of the people have decided not to return to their villages which lie close to the Pakistani along the border in R S Pura sector of Jammu district, till shelling ends completely.

Pakistani forces resorted to day-time shelling for the first time in various sectors along the international border, especially Chillary, Ramgarh, Jora farm and Arnia.

Eight people have been killed and 71 others injured in the shelling and firing along the LoC and international boder in Jammu and Poonch districts this month, triggering migration of about 16,000 people from their border hamlets.