Pakistan shelling forces Jammu villagers to migrate
Shelling from Pakistan has triggered civilian migration since Saturday night from a Jammu and Kashmir village located near the border.
People of the Suchetgarh Kullian village, situated 400 metres from the international border in Samba district, left their homes Saturday night and took shelter in a community hall.
"Suchetgarh Kullian villagers, including women and children, have taken shelter in a community hall in Kali Bari near the railway station.
"There are around 100 women and children at the community hall...," an official of the district administration told IANS.
There are around 70 houses in the village and except for some men taking care of the houses, all other residents have left the village due to fear of becoming targets of Pakistan shelling in the area.
Many other villagers from Suchetgarh Kullian have left for the homes of their relatives in places away from the border, according to reports reaching here.
This is the first civilian migration from a border village in Jammu and Kashmir after the 1971 and 1965 wars with Pakistan.
Villagers told reporters that Pakistan shelling has damaged some of their houses Friday night and they had no other option other than to migrate to safer locations.
Pakistan Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing at 25 locations on the international border during Friday night, triggering panic and fear among residents of border villages.
Reports from Ramgarh border village of Samba district also indicated that residents were preparing to shift families to safer locations.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is arriving here Tuesday to take stock of the situation following the heightened tensions on the borders in Jammu region.
India and Pakistan signed a historic bilateral ceasefire agreement in November 2003. As guns of the two armies and paramilitary forces guarding the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border fell silent following the ceasefire agreement, a modicum of peace and normalcy had returned to the lives of thousands of people living close to the borders.
After 10 years, this luxury of peace for these people appears to be withering.