Eight people were injured as Pakistan mortars started raining on Akhnoor and nearby Kanachak sectors from across the international border with the onset of night.
Sources said the first shell fell on the house of one Raj Kumar at Garkhal,injuring four members of his family. Another shell fell on a house at Lalyal in Kanachak area,injuring two women and two children.
The injured at Lalyal have been identified as Anju Sharma and Kamlesh Devi,her daughter Isha and son Happy.
Those who sustained splinter injured during mortar shelling at Garkhal were identified Ratno Devi,her daughterAsha Devi and son Kuldeep Raj,and Promila. They have been admitted at Government Medical College Hospital at Jammu.
As shelling from the Pakistan side continued intermittently,the BSF were also retaliating. Senior civil and police officials have rushed to both the areas to assess the situation.
Over the last two months,there has been a spurt of ceasefire violations by Pakistan on both the Line of Control (LoC) and the international border (IB). So far,four army and BSF personnel among five people have been killed and nearly two dozen others injured in unprovoked firing by Pakistan during that period.
The escalation of violence, on the border,which initially began on the Line of Control (LoC),has now expanded to the international border in the Jammu region. Pakistani Rangers,aided by their regular troops,have been targeting residential areas along the IB with mortar shells,causing panic among local villagers.
With a war-like situation prevailing along the international border in Akhnoor,Pargwal,Kanachak,Arnia,R S Pura,Ramgarh and Samba sectors,the BSF has rushed in reinforcements to man the border outposts. Nearly 400 BSF personnel who were posted on election duty in Chhattisgarh have been sent to Jammu.
The BSF officials describe the stepped up Pakistani shelling on civilian areas as part of its changed strategy to keep the Kashmir issue alive on the one hand and also to bring Indian security forces manning the border under pressure on the other. Their changed strategy,according to them,also appears to be part of their plan to ensure a safe passage to terrorists who have been camping at launching pads on the Pakistani side of the border for a long time.
Taking note of the prolonged firing by Pakistan,the Jammu and Kashmir government has,as part of its contingency plan,asked the civil administration to identify buildings that could be used as temporary shelters by villagers who migrate from their native places in case of continued Pakistan shelling.
People from various villages situated near the border have already migrated to safer places in Samba and Arnia sectors.
At other places,people are said to leave their homes during nights and return only in the mornings when chances of Pakistani shelling are lesser.