Pak continues shelling along border areas

Pak continues shelling along border areas

The escalated tension along the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) has created a warlike situation in Jammu, with Pakistan continuing to violate ceasefire and pound Indian forward posts and civilian areas on Tuesday.

Violating ceasefire for the 17th time in less than a week, Pakistan Rangers resorted to unprovoked mortar shelling and heavy firing on border outposts (BOPs) and villages in Arnia, RS Pura, Kanachak and Pargwal sub-sectors along the IB in Jammu and  Samba district from Monday night, said reports. Twelve people were injured in the firing.

Eyewitnesses said over the phone that a virtual warlike situation prevailed in some border areas of the Jammu region, with the Pakistan's use of long-range mortar shells throughout the night leading to fresh waves of fear psychosis among the people.

“The intensity of 82-mm mortar shelling was such that some of the shells landed in Arnia town, around 5 km away from the IB. It was the worst attack on civilian areas in recent times; we have not seen such an attack even during the ceasefire violations in August,” they said. 

The Pakistani troops also opened fire with small arms in the Balnoie forward belt along the LoC in Poonch district around 2:15 pm on Tuesday, the reports added. A senior BSF official told Deccan Herald that the Pakistani Rangers targeted 40 BOPs and 25 villages. “Three civilians were injured in the shelling. Our troops gave a befitting reply to the ceasefire violation,” he said.

Reports said while people from the entire Arnia sector had migrated by Monday evening, people in other forward villages along the IB were panicking, with shells landing and exploding inside or close to their houses and fields.

While some of the families headed to the houses of their relatives, others took shelter in relief camps. The Army has joined the operation by installing tents for the migrants and providing them food. 

Police vehicles fitted with mikes are reportedly asking the people to shift to safe locations. Unconfirmed reports said 10,000 people had migrated from Arnia town and forward villages. 

The Pakistan Army continued heavy shelling and firing in Balakote, Mendhar, Mankote and surrounding areas of over 30 km in the Bhimber Gali sector of the Poonch district along the LoC, said the reports. Though there were no casualties in the fresh ceasefire violations, about two dozen houses suffered minor damage from splinters of mortars and bullets.

The number of deaths due to ceasefire violations since the beginning of the month has gone up to seven. A 17-year-old girl was killed in Balnoie on Sunday, while an Army trooper was killed and another injured on the LoC in an IED blast in the same sector.

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