5 civilians killed in ceasefire violation

A woman carries her son, who was injured in cross-border firing, to a hospital in Jammu on Wednesday. PTI
At least five civilians were killed and 30 others, including six BSF personnel, injured in Pakistani firing and shelling on Indian villages and border outposts (BoPs) along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday.
 
Reports said the entire 181 km of International Border from Kathua to Akhnoor in Jammu division was rattled by heavy firing throughout the night. A BSF official said that nearly 40 of the border outposts were targeted by Pakistan Rangers with 82mm and 120mm mortar shells.
 
"Pakistan Rangers resorted to indiscriminate shelling on Indian BoPs and directly targeted border villages in most of the sectors. Till now, at least five civilians have lost their lives while 30 others, including BSF personnel, have been injured, he said.
 
Such was the intensity of the shelling that dozens of mortar shells fell in Arnia town during the day. Some of the shells crossed the town and fell in the fields, the official said.

Eyewitnesses told DH over the phone that Pakistani troops used small, automatic weapons and mortar shells to target border hamlets. The sound of heavy shelling could be heard from five kilometres' area along the border, they said. The terrified villagers rushed to take shelter in safer areas, including bunkers.

As a precautionary move, all schools within a 5-km radius of the IB have been asked to remain closed, officials said.
 
This is the second time in the past one week that the Rangers have simultaneously targeted civilian population and forward posts of BSF in five sectors of RS Pura, Arnia, Ramgarh, Samba and Hiranagar, which share the boundary with Pakistan.

This year, the number of people killed in over 850 incidents of Pakistani shelling along IB and Line of Control (LoC) in the state has risen to 43. The deceased include 18 security personnel and 25 civilians.

As firing from the Pakistani side intensified over the last three days, border villagers have left homes in thousands to take refuge in safer areas. Officials said that police were making announcements on loudspeakers, urging residents to stay indoors. They are also being advised to take shelter in bunkers. There are 43 community bunkers across Jammu region. Of these, nearly two dozen are along the IB in Jammu district. However, one bunker can accommodate only 25-30 people at a time. Nearly 50 more bunkers are under construction in the area.
 
Grenade attack injures 10

Ten civilians, including a minor boy, were injured in a grenade attack in Bijbehara area of south Kashmir's Anantnag district on Wednesday.

Police said a grenade was lobbed at a security forces' vehicle. It missed the target and exploded on a roadside, leaving 10 civilians, including a 12-year-old boy, injured.

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