Uneasy calm on Jammu and Kashmir border after three days of intense shelling

Uneasy calm on Jammu and Kashmir border after three days of intense shelling

Uneasy calm on Jammu and Kashmir border after three days of intense shelling

After three days of intense shelling in which 11 people, including six civilians and five security personnel, were killed, an uneasy calm prevailed along the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.

A police officer said no cross-border firing or shelling incidents were reported from the entire 198-km  long IB from Kathua to Akhnoor in Jammu since Saturday night.

The Pakistan Army fired at Indian posts in Shahpur, Manjakote and Mendhar sectors of Poonch district on the  LoC during the night but after Indian positions retaliated they stopped, he said.  

However, reports said, despite calm, thousands of border villagers who fled their homes in recent days due to indiscriminate shelling by Pakistan troops were still camped at safer places away from their homes.  

The border  residents have adopted the wait and watch policy as they fear that Pakistani troops could again target civilian areas once they return to their houses, a resident told DH over phone.

He said a majority of border  residents have taken shelter in the houses of their relatives and friends in safer zones, while others were camping in lodgement centres set up for them by the government.

Educational institutions within five km of the border have been ordered to remain  closed for three more days.

In August last year, 500 students and teachers trapped in several schools due to indiscriminate shelling by Pakistan troops had to be rescued in bullet-proof vehicles of the amy and police.

An army official said people have been asked to stay indoors and not to touch any suspicious object in their area as it could be an unexploded mortar shell.

People have also been asked to inform the police or the army if any such shell is found so that the same can be destroyed, he said.

Security forces have strengthened presence all along the IB and the LoC, notwithstanding a temporary thaw in the shelling and  are ready to retaliate any fresh ceasefire violations from the Pakistani side.  

"There are reports that militants have mixed up with Pakistan army to target the army BSF and infiltrate into the Indian territory. Taking no chance, security forces were taking all steps to counter infiltration attempts by the militants on the Border," he said.

Meanwhile, an army soldier injured in Poonch succumbed to his injuries on Saturday night, taking the death toll in the border firing in Jammu and Kashmir to 11 since Thursday, the police said.