Pak shelling forces hundreds of border residents to flee their homes

5,000 students not able to attend schools for over a week

Pak shelling forces hundreds of border residents to flee their homes
With relentless shelling from across the border continuing, hundreds of frightened villagers along the International Border in Jammu and Samba districts have fled to safer places in the last 24-hours.

A police spokesperson said that 727 border dwellers caught in shelling and firing by Pakistani troops in Arnia, RS Pura and Ramgarh sectors in Jammu and Samba districts have been evacuated to safer places. The evacuation was carried out by the police after six civilians were injured on Thursday due to intense shelling by the Pakistani troops.

However, despite the evacuation, four more civilians were injured on Friday in the Pakistani shelling in Arnia and RS Pura sectors, reports said. Six livestock were also killed and 34 injured in the shelling while two houses were damaged as well in the fresh shelling, reports added.

There has been continuous firing and shelling by Pakistani troops along the IB and the Line of Control (LoC) this week. Earlier last week a BSF trooper and a civilian were killed and over a dozen others were injured in the shelling and firing by Pakistani troops in Arnia sector and Poonch between September 13 and September 18.

A border resident, who identified himself as Tilak Raj, told DH over phone that fear of death has forced hundreds of people to flee their homes and hundreds are more in process of moving out. “Fear of death due to shelling has forced us to leave our homes. Bombs are falling on our houses. Last few nights have been like script of a horror movie in Arnia. Pakistani troops pound the civilian areas with high caliber mortar shells. It seems as if angle of death is dancing in the town,” he said.

For the last more than a week, schools within five km from the border in Arnia are shut due to incessant shelling by Pakistan. The shelling has forces nearly 5,000 students in Arina to miss their schools.­­

"There is no future for our children living. I don't think the schools will open in such situation in near future. For last three years, the ceasefire violations have become a routine and so has closure of schools," Tilak rued.

Earlier this week, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had appealed for peace on borders and sought end to hostilities between India and Pakistan saying it is the people of the State who suffer the brunt of these skirmishes.

"Our state has been sandwiched between our country India and Pakistan. When there is war we suffer the most. It is most unfortunate that we are talking about schools and colleges and hospitals and in the same breath we are taking about bunkers to save us from shelling," Mehbooba said while addressing border residents in north Kashmir's Kupwara district.

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